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Official speeches and statements - March 18, 2020

Published on March 18, 2020

1. COVID-19 - Message from Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to all our compatriots abroad (Paris - March 16, 2020)

The President of the French Republic addressed the French people tonight. He said that entrance via the external borders of the European Union and the Schengen Area will close at 12 noon CET on Tuesday, March 17 for 30 days. This means that all travel between non-European countries and the European Union will be suspended for 30 days. French citizens who are currently abroad and wish to return home will of course be able to re-enter our country. We will organize repatriation for those who so wish, and where it is necessary.

The President recalled that the only way to slow the rapid spread of the epidemic in France, in Europe and worldwide, is to limit all our travel to the strict minimum.

In the framework set out by the President, I would like to inform you of the important details that follow, in order to manage the exceptional situation we all face in a calm, orderly manner.

The closure of external borders affects all countries apart from the United Kingdom and those in the European Union and Schengen Area.

Given the dynamics of the epidemic, French citizens with their usual residence outside the Schengen Area who can do so are encouraged for health reasons to avoid international travel and to limit their movements over the coming 30 days. I invite those who consider it necessary given their health condition to contact our embassies and consulates.

For French citizens currently on temporary travel abroad, we reiterate our recommendation to take the necessary steps to return swiftly to France while commercial transport remains available, where possible, insofar as more and more countries are taking measures to stop air travel to France, sometimes at very short notice.

I have asked our embassies and consulates to set up telephone hotlines to answer your questions. I ask all transport operators, including airlines, to maintain the necessary routes. I have obtained the necessary authorization from several of my counterparts already.

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is fully mobilized to implement the announcements of the President of the Republic.