The Minister of Internal Affairs announced today that Brussels recommended maintaining, until July 1, the restrictions on non-essential flights to countries outside the European Union.

Eduardo Cabrita, who attended the informal meeting of Ministers of Internal Affairs of the European Union today, said in a press conference that the European Commission proposed that member states maintain these restrictions until the end of June.

Portugal, he said, will maintain, however, some exceptions, which already existed, namely in relation to Portuguese-speaking countries or with significant Portuguese communities.

According to the minister, the European Commission will issue a set of recommendations next week to all member states on the gradual and coordinated lifting of external borders.

“Countries will be assessed according to their health situation and access to flights will take into account the recommendations of the European Center for Disease Control. This will be the criterion that will lead us, as of July 1, to define the cases in which we will authorize the existence of flights ”, he said.

“Many” EU governments on Friday supported renewing for a third time a restriction on outside arrivals, said European Home-Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson. The curb on non-essential travel to the bloc is due to lapse on June 15 after being introduced in mid-March for 30 days and extended twice as Europe stepped up the fight against the virus.

Border with Spain

Regarding the border with Spain, the only internal border that Portugal shares, the date indicated for the reopening is also the 1st of July, as had already been put forward by the Spanish government, which had initially pointed to the 22nd of June.

“It was reaffirmed, both by the Minister of the Interior of Spain and by me, the total harmony existing in the coordination of actions and in what we had previously defined to accompany the process of monitoring the survey of borders”, underlined Eduardo Cabrita.

The minister said, however, that the lifting of land borders will not take place as long as there is “any situation of internal quarantine” in Spain.

Spanish authorities closed the borders in mid-March, with the entry into force of the state of emergency, except for residents, cross-border workers and truck drivers, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.