In the same vein as the year 2020, the end of year holidays are placed for expatriates under the sign of prohibitions.
Catalonia’s borders have been closed since October 30 and at least until December 28. Under the application of the state of emergency, the Spanish government has allowed regions to ban entry and exit from their territory in order to fight the pandemic.
However, according to the doctrine dictated by Emmanuel Macron and recalled by the President of the Republic when the second confinement was announced, “French people living abroad will of course be allowed to return”.
Yesterday evening, the French consulate in Barcelona announced in a short press release that it would not be possible for the French of Catalonia to leave the region except for an essential reason and therefore to return to their country during the end of year holidays. Contacted by Equinox, the consulate says it spoke with representatives of the Catalan government earlier this week. It emerged from the exchanges a formal ban for French residents to leave Catalonia, as for all inhabitants of the region.
According to French diplomacy, the Catalan perimeter confinement applies this time to everyone, and even to French residents. “The president of the French Republic has authority over the French border, so he allows all French people to cross it, that’s what he says.” But if the Catalan local authority does not allow Catalan residents to go out, it must be respected. “ explains the consulate.
Solicited by Equinox, the Catalan Ministry of the Interior confirms this ban and the risk of a fine of 600 euros is in force in the event of control.
A final doubt hung over the measure aimed at allowing movement between the Spanish regions during the holidays to see relatives and by extension to go to France to visit his family. This measure does not apply in Catalonia which is sovereign with a state of emergency to manage the entry and exit of its territory, explains the Catalan Ministry of the Interior.
Malaise in the French community
This late announcement, while the perimeter containment is in force since October 30, sows the greatest confusion within the French community. “The French can return to France without any problem since the start of perimeter confinement! “ astonished an elected consular, making himself the spokesperson for many compatriots who crossed the border in recent weeks.
“Unfortunately we see that other territories in Europe and in the world have taken in recent days decisions restricting the possibilities of reuniting with family, and it is the decisions of the territory of residence which take precedence for questions of health precaution., continues Samantha Cazebonne, all the more so since it would be difficult to ask for a “French exception” when a Spaniard living in Catalonia cannot go and join his parents in Valencia to celebrate Christmas ”.
For the moment, the controls are very few, but any violator is exposed to a fine and an obligation to turn around.
The conditions for crossing the France-Spain border
If it is not possible to leave Catalonia to visit relatives in France, it is allowed to enter or leave Catalonia in the following cases:
a) Assistance to health and social centers, services and establishments
b) Professional, commercial, institutional or legal obligations
c) Attendance at universities, teaching and education centers, including nursery schools
d) Return to the place of usual or family residence (the family residence corresponds to another usual place of residence, such as the family residence for students, for example, the Catalan government told us)
e) Assistance and care for the elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or particularly vulnerable people
f) Travel to financial and insurance entities
g) Required or urgent actions before public, judicial or notarial authorities
h) Renewals of permits and official documents, as well as other administrative procedures which cannot be postponed
i) Take official exams or tests that cannot be postponed
j) In case of force majeure or a situation of necessity
k) Any other activity of the same nature, duly accredited
The French diplomatic services are currently updating their websites, in particular the French Embassy in Spain.
The restriction also applies to entries into Catalonia not justified by one of the points mentioned above. Besides the Catalan police turned back many French motorists came to do their shopping in the Val d’Aran yesterday. However, these measures only concern Catalonia. It is essential to consult the measures in force in each autonomous community.