EU Commission urges states to allow unmarried partners to travel, freeing them from travel restrictions

The European Commission on Friday (7 August) urged member states to allow EU entry for unmarried partners of European citizens and residents by exempting them from travel restrictions targeting some countries.

The external borders of the EU and the Schengen visa area — closed due to the coronavirus pandemic — have reopened since July to travelers from a restricted list of third countries.

But for other countries, including the United States, all non-essential travel to the Union remains prohibited, with exceptions for EU citizens, residents and their families.

Member states can allow unmarried partners in documented relationships to enter the EU if they choose to do so, but few are, said Commission spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz.

“Currently, only a minority of member states do so,” he said, without specifying which nations.

A social media campaign dubbed “Love is not tourism” has been launched to call on governments to allow unmarried couples separated by travel bans to reunite.

According to this movement, only eight European countries, including Denmark and the Netherlands, allow the reunion of unmarried couples. Germany, which holds the presidency of the European Union, has sent a questionnaire to the 27 to detail their policy.

The global pandemic led to border closures and restrictions on freedom of movement within the EU and the Schengen area. Most of these measures were phased out in June, but new restrictions have since been reintroduced.

Some countries such as the United Kingdom, Belgium and Germany have sometimes imposed mandatory quarantines on travelers arriving from certain regions or countries in the EU, without notice.

The list of third countries whose travelers are authorised to enter the EU is now reduced to: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

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