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European Union Closes Borders for 30 Days

EU Closes Borders

European Union countries have agreed to close the EU’s external borders for 30 days in a new effort to slow the coronavirus pandemic.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission said yesterday on the implementation of the temporary entry restrictions on the external borders, "We got a lot of support by the Member States. It is up to them now to implement – they said they will immediately do that, this is good in order to have an unanimous and united approach what the external borders are concerned. There was a lot of approval what our proposal is concerned."

As the EU travel ban for non-EU citizens has come into force, and the first travelers, who landed in Frankfurt from Turkey this morning, have been turned away at the border.

Ursula von der Leyen added that there are too many people stranded within the European Union and have a problem to go back home. They have to be supported to go back home.

BBC reported that in Poland, there's a 40km traffic queue at the border as people rush to get back home. Foreigners are temporarily banned from entering the country and returning Polish citizens must be quarantined for 14 days.

In our efforts to mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has published guidelines to ensure EU passenger rights are applied in a coherent manner across the EU.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “In light of the mass cancellations and delays passengers and transport operators face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission wants to provide legal certainty on how to apply EU passenger rights. In case of cancellations the transport provider must reimburse or re-route the passengers. If passengers themselves decide to cancel their journeys, reimbursement of the ticket depends on its type, and companies may offer vouchers for subsequent use. Today's guidelines will provide much-needed legal certainty on how to apply EU passenger rights in a coordinated manner across our Union. We continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation, and, if need be, further steps will be taken.”

This guidance will help passengers, the industry and national authorities in this unprecedented situation, with important passenger travel restrictions imposed by national governments and knock-on effects on transport services across the EU. By introducing clarity, the guidelines are also expected to help reduce costs for the transport sector, which is heavily affected by the outbreak. The guidelines cover the rights of passengers when travelling by air, rail, ship or bus/coach, maritime and inland waterways, as well as the corresponding obligations for carriers.

If passengers face the cancellation of their journey, for example, they can choose between reimbursement of the ticket price or re-routing to reach their final destination at a later stage. At the same time, the guidelines clarify that the current circumstances are “extraordinary”, with the consequence that certain rights – such as compensation in case of flight cancellation less than two weeks from departure date – may not be invoked.

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