Coronavirus – Spain Closes Land Borders at Midnight

Spain closes its land borders to those who are not Spanish, residents or cross-border workers

The Government has agreed to reestablish the controls at the EU land borders, except Gibraltar and Andorra. From midnight, access will only allowed for Spanish citizens, residents in Spain, cross-border workers, to those accredited due to force majeure (unforeseeable circumstances) situations of need and for the transport of goods.

This was announced by the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, after having participated in a videoconference with the Interior and Health ministers of the European Union. Quotes from his speech.

“It is a necessary, reasonable and proportional measure to ensure the ultimate goal; protect the safety and health of all of us and contain the expansion of the coronavirus,” said Marlaksa, who has reported that the measure will be in force until the State of Alarm ends.

The minister has stressed that the decision has been made in coordination with the European Union and has specified that the Government is working so that the Spaniards who are outside the country can return.

“We will put all the instruments to work so that Spanish citizens anywhere in the world can return to their residence do so as soon as possible,” he said.

It will not affect the transport of goods
On the other hand, the Interior Minister has assured that the closure of borders will have no effect on the transport of goods in order to ensure the continuity of economic activity and “preserve the supply chain.”

Nor will the measure affect diplomatic staff accredited in Spain, provided they make trips related to their duties.

The Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, has already spoken with both the French President, Emmanuel Macron, and the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, and, according to Marlaska, the decision adopted by Spain involves the activation of Article 28 of the Code of Schengen borders, which allow the states to reestablish controls in situations such as those defined by the royal decree that has established the state of alarm in the country and which opens the door to impose mobility restrictions.

Sanctions proportional to the seriousness of the facts
In a previous appearance, Grande-Marlaska had highlighted that, as a consequence of the declaration of the state of alarm, there has been a “manifest reduction” in traffic and that the situation is “normal under extraordinary circumstances”.

He recalled that “there are orders to comply with the royal decree of a state of alarm because there are very serious things with which the entire society is committed, which is to safeguard health, which is a duty of solidarity with one another.”

Thus, “the imposition of sanctions on the reluctant to comply with the regulations and the unsupportive is based on parameters of proportionality and as there is a great sense of solidarity,  the response to sanctions is minimal, “he added.

The minister has assured that the coordination of the State Security Forces, the National Police and the Civil Guard, with the autonomous police, Mossos d’Esquadra, Ertzintza and the Navarra Police “works normally and at maximum”.


Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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