European Union

The European Commission has again called on European Union’s (EU) member states to ease travel restrictions that have prevented unmarried couples from reuniting, an EU spokesman said Friday.

Adalbert Jahnz, the spokesman, told a daily news conference that a letter had been sent to all member states and the UK setting out principles to serve as guidelines for any further decisions on restrictions to free movement linked to the pandemic.

He said the letter emphasized the importance of avoiding a second wave of uncoordinated actions at the EU’s internal borders. The EU had been criticized for the haphazard way with which member states tackled the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest call is probably linked to the UK’s decision this week to close it’s borders to arrivals from Spain and a number of complaints from unmarried couples about the difficulties for reuniting because of border restrictions, according to media reports.

The matters were discussed between national border authorities. The last meeting, held on Thursday, specifically discussed the exclusion of unmarried partners of European citizens and residents from the travel restriction into the EU, said Jahnz.

“Under the current legal situation, member states can allow unmarried partners with duly attested relationships to enter the EU if they choose to do so.

We repeatedly encourage member states to use this possibility but only a minority of member states do so,” Jahnz told reporters.

The spokesman said the commission will continue to call on all member states to allow the entry of people in duly attested relationships with European citizens and residents without delay.

The German presidency of the Council of the EU has distributed among member states a questionnaire on their approach to this issue, he said.

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