Coronavirus: repatriation of EU citizens continues
The European Union continues working on all fronts to assist European citizens across the world, who are affected by travel restrictions due to the coronavirus outbreak. EU Delegations around the world and the European External Action Service’s Consular Task Force together with the Emergency Response Coordination Centre in Brussels are working around the clock to assist Member States: reaching out to third countries, organising repatriation flights, ensuring landing rights and access to airspace, as well as transit access and extension of visas, when needed. Since the beginning of the outbreak, around 250,000 people have been flown back to Europe thanks to flights organised by the Member States. In addition, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has facilitated the repatriation of 4,384 EU citizens to Europe from China, Japan, the U.S., Morocco, Tunisia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Egypt, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, Cabo Verde, Georgia, Gambia, Senegal, Haiti and Malaysia. The UK during the transition period, as well as six states participating (Iceland, Norway, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Turkey) are also benefiting from the Mechanism’s support in bringing their citizens back home. There are still almost 100 flights planned over the next days. Last week, the European Commission proposed to boost the EU budget by €45 million to help the repatriation efforts. Under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the Commission contributes to the costs of repatriation flights that carry nationals of more than one Member State, based on a principle of solidarity. Both High Representative/Vice-President Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management Lenarčič, with the European External Action Service and the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, are working to support swift return of EU citizens from third countries.