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Countries across Europe continue to open up their borders to foreign travellers

From today, France, Belgium, and Greece are lifting restrictions for travel within Europe.

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COUNTRIES ACROSS the EU have continued to ease their respective lockdown measures this week with many relaxing their border restrictions to visitors from other countries. 

The EU has been aiming to coordinate the border reopening among its 27 members, encouraging all countries to reopen to member states from today, although some have already reopened in recent weeks. 

At home in Ireland, borders were never closed to foreign travel from other countries.

The Government, however, has introduced a 14-day quarantine for all travellers entering the country, with fines for non-compliance. 

While borders into countries popular with Irish holidaymakers might be open, the Irish Government is also, for now, encouraging people to stay home this summer and not rush to book flights abroad. 

From today, France, Belgium, and Greece are lifting restrictions for travel within Europe.

Paris, however, has specified it wants reciprocity and so may impose restrictions on those countries blocking travellers from France. 

Greece, on the other hand, has gone further, allowing travellers from farther afield, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China, Israel and Lebanon.

Germany is ending land border checks today, while the Dutch government has announced it would ease warnings against non-essential foreign travel from the same date.

Ahead of the pack

A number of other countries are ahead of the pack having already eased travel restrictions. 

Italy, which has been among the world’s hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, reopened its borders on 3 June, lifting all restrictions for travellers from within Europe.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia have also already begun to lift restrictions for foreign travellers entering their countries but excluded those from nations they deem as not safe – in many cases that list includes Sweden and the UK.

Poland has reopened its borders to all fellow EU members and the UK from 13 June.

Sweden meanwhile never closed its borders to EU countries. 

Austria, which had already opened its borders to most of its neighbours, will tomorrow lift travel restrictions with a total of 31 countries – but it has excluded Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

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The Czech Republic is also allowing free travel with a number of European countries from Monday, but restrictions are still in place with those deemed a risk due to their levels of coronavirus infections. 

Other countries have held off reopening this week with a view to following their European neighbours in the coming weeks. 

Spain will lift travel restrictions on 21 June, re-establishing free travel with fellow EU countries.

The land border with Portugal will however remain closed until 1 July. Portugal has suffered a much lower death rate than Spain from the coronavirus epidemic.

However, Spain’s Balearic Islands will see an earlier contingent of foreign guests when they welcome 11,000 Germans from today in a pilot project for the revival of the crucial tourism sector.

Romania has not yet announced when it will re-open its borders to foreigners without restrictions.

Meanwhile, others are lifting border controls, but are still doing so more gradually.

With reporting from Conor McCrave 

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