On Thursday 11 June, the European Commission published a new recommendation about the common strategy to lift travel restrictions inside and outside the Schengen zone.

Download the new recommendation of the European Commission here.

The purpose is that internal travel restrictions will be lifted on June 15 or as soon as possible after June 15. At the moment of writing this article, we only know that Spain and Portugal will not seem to open their borders on June 15 but they will do this on July 1. 

Although countries will in general open their borders again (for all travel purposes), it remains to be seen whether they will apply specific measures towards people travelling to their territory. Also, in some cases, exceptions could be made towards people coming from specific countries nationalities. 

According to our current information, all our neighboring countries FR, NL, D, LUX should open their borders again completely on June 15 for travel from Belgium. We do not know of any specific restrictions (quarantines). 

The Commission also addressed the restrictions concerning the external Schengen borders and made two recommendations : 

  • As of July 1, the restrictions towards a limited number of countries should be lifted. The Commission recommends opening the borders for the Western Balkan countries that are not member countries of the European Union: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. 
  • For other countries the restrictions are maintained, but the Commission recommends that the current exceptions allowing to travel into the Schengen area should be broadened to include highly qualified third-country workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad. It should also be possible for third-country nationals travelling for study purposes.

Important reminder: the European Commission cannot take decisions on the closing or opening of borders, and can only make recommendations. It is up the every single Member State to decide on following (or not) the recommendations of the European Commission.

We are following up and will keep you informed on the evolution of the situation regarding the neighboring countries.

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