Frontier control
17 March 2020

European Council on COVID-19 

Today, 17 March 2020, the 27 Heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) held a European Council videoconference.

This second videoconference on COVID-19 between the EU Heads of State and Government (bringing together Ursula von der Leyen, President of European Commission, Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, and Mario Centeno, President of the Eurogroup) enabled progress to be made on four key points:
  • guidelines proposed by the European Commission regarding internal border control measures, which must not result in closure and must safeguard the functioning of the Single Market;
  • Member States’ support for the proposal to temporarily close the EU’s external borders, which the President of the European Council has urged each State to put into effect without delay (Germany is expected to do so from today, 17 March);
  • coordination of efforts to repatriate European nationals who are currently abroad and wish to return to the EU; the commitment was also made to facilitate the intra-Community transit of those wishing to return to their homeland;
  • full endorsement of the Eurogroup’s statement to do whatever it takes to support the economy, over and above the steps already undertaken.

The President of the Republic gave his full backing to these guidelines, declaring that, effective as of midday today, 17 March, France is applying the restrictions regarding the EU’s external borders. He underscored France’s commitment to a swift and coordinated return of European nationals currently outside the EU. He firmly condemned the uncoordinated measures to close internal borders, which are detrimental to both health efforts and the economy alike.