Member of the European Parliament Moritz Körner has urged Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès to introduce measures allowing couples in different countries to see each other, despite the travel restrictions.
Many couples in long-distance relationships who have been separated for months because of the closed borders have been calling attention to their situation, using the hashtags #LoveIsNotTourism and #LoveIsEssential on social media.
"[Partners] are not allowed to be together in these times because their loved ones do not have EU citizenship and no official marital status," Körner wrote in a letter to Wilmès.
"In times when they are most needed, couples cannot be there for each other because most Member States prevent them from entering the European Union. This has to end," he added.
Since 15 June, travelling from Belgium to most countries in the EU, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway has been possible again, but non-essential travel outside these countries is still prohibited for the time being. Partners who are not married and have different nationalities cannot travel to see each other, as their journeys would not be considered essential. Hannah Maes, a Belgian woman with an American girlfriend living in New York, has last seen her in January. "What I am having a hard time with right now is that all discussions about borders are about tourism. But this is not about tourism, this is about love. This is not a touristic visit," Maes told VRT.
Corona must not limit love. Calling on the government of #Belgium to follow the EU-Commission’s recommendation to give love- and lifepartners equal rights as family members when traveling to the EU: #LoveIsNotTourism #loveisessential pic.twitter.com/BPgOdxeihE— Moritz Körner (@moritzkoerner) July 3, 2020
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Denmark has introduced measures that allow partners, fiancés and other family members to enter the country, even when coming from a place from where travel is otherwise restricted. Danish citizens can have their foreign partner visit them by means of a sworn statement. The existing measures will remain in force until at least 7 July. Next week, the Belgian government will further consider the list of countries and travel advice. Maïthé Chini The Brussels Times
The partner or ‘sweetheart’ with whom the Union citizen or legal resident has a durable relationship which is duly attested should be exempted from EU travel restrictions on non-essential travel. #loveisessential indeed!#LoveIsNotTourism— Ylva Johansson (@YlvaJohansson) July 2, 2020