Coronavirus: Commission proposes update to coordinated approach on free movement restrictions

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today the Commission proposed an update to the Council Recommendation of last October coordinating measures affecting free movement in the European Union. This is part of the Commission’s ongoing efforts to ensure better coordination and communication of travel-related measures at EU level. In light of new coronavirus variants and high numbers of new infections across many Member States, it is necessary to strongly discourage non-essential travel, while avoiding border closures or blanket travel bans and ensuring that the functioning of the Single Market and supply chains remain uninterrupted. Therefore further targeted action to ensure a coordinated approach on measures restricting free movement within the EU is necessary.

The Commission’s proposal sets out additional coordination in two areas where Member States have already agreed to work together:

  1. An update to the agreed colour code for the mapping of risk areas.
  2. Stricter measures applied to travellers from higher-risk areas.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, said: “The agreement in October on an EU coordinated approach for travel restrictions was a big step forward in our efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 while preserving essential travel and the functioning of the Single Market. The common map and a common approach to proportionate, non-discriminatory restrictions must still guide our efforts. What we need now in view of the new variants is even more coordination and a joint European effort to discourage non-essential travel. Border closures will not help, common measures will.”

An update to the common colour code 

In addition to the existing colours of green, orange, red and grey, the Commission is proposing to add ‘dark red’ to indicate areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels. This would apply to an area where the 14-day notification rate is more than 500 per 100 000 people.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will continue to publish updated versions of the map based on data provided by Member States.

Stricter measures for travellers from higher-risk areas

As per the Commission’s Communication of 19 January setting out actions needed to avoid a third wave, the Commission proposes that all non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged until the epidemiological situation has considerably improved. This especially concerns travel to and from ‘dark red’ areas. When doing so, Member States should ensure consistency with the measures they apply to travel within their own territory.

For people travelling from a ‘dark red’ area, Member States should require them to:

As testing capacity has increased, Member States could make greater use of pre-departure tests also for areas currently mapped as ‘orange’, ‘red’ or ‘grey’. People returning to their Member State of residence should be allowed to take a test after arrival instead.

In view of the risks linked to very high numbers of new infections, the Commission recommends, based on ECDC guidance, that Member States agree to adopt, maintain or reinforce non-pharmaceutical interventions such as stay-at-home measures and the temporary closing of certain businesses, in particular in areas classified as ‘dark red’, to strengthen testing and tracing and to increase surveillance and sequencing of COVID-19 cases to gather information on the spread of new, more infectious coronavirus variants.

People living in border regions should be exempted from some of the travel restrictions. If they frequently need to cross the border, for instance for family or work reasons, should not be required to undergo quarantine and the frequency of test required should be proportionate. If the epidemiological situation on both sides of the border is similar, no testing requirement should be imposed.

Member States should also seek to avoid disruptions to essential travel, notably to keep transport flows moving in line with the ‘Green Lanes’ system and to avoid supply chain disruptions. Given the increased risk, essential travellers such as health care workers, people travelling for imperative family or business reasons arriving from ‘dark red’ areas should also get tested and undergo quarantine, provided that this does not have a disproportionate impact on the exercise of their essential function or need. Transport workers, whose exposure to the general population when travelling is typically limited, should not be required to quarantine and in principle be exempted from travel-related tests. The same exemptions should apply when essential travellers are transiting.

In addition to the updates proposed by the Commission today on travel within the EU, the Commission has also adopted a proposal to update the Council Recommendation on travel into the EU from non-EU countries.

Background

On 3 September 2020, the Commission made a proposal for a Council Recommendation to ensure that any measures taken by Member States that restrict free movement due to the coronavirus pandemic are coordinated and clearly communicated at the EU level.

On 13 October 2020, EU Member States committed to ensure more coordination and better information sharing by adopting the Council Recommendation.

On 19 January, ahead of the meeting of European leaders on a coordinated response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Commission set out a number of actions needed to step up the fight against the pandemic.

At their meeting on 21 January, the European leaders acknowledged that the Council may need to review its recommendations on free movement and travel from third countries in light of the risks posed by the new virus variants. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the Commission will make a proposal for targeted and coordinated measures in order to ensure the necessary safeguards are in place for travel, which was presented today.

The latest information on coronavirus measures as well as travel restrictions provided to us by Member States are available on the Re-open EU platform.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

French Prime Minister passes Stability Program and takes his ‘café’ in Brussels this June

If people aren’t responding to climate warnings, we need to change the message

EU budget: Will Germany alone manage Britain’s gap?

No end to Deutsche Bank’s problems: new litigations in the US and frailty in EU stress test

African cities will double in population by 2050. Here are 4 ways to make sure they thrive

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

UN mission welcomes Afghan government’s announcement of Eid holiday ceasefire

Cyprus tragedy reveals Eurozone’s arbitrary functioning

UN postal agency ‘regrets’ US withdrawal

VAT: EU Member States still losing almost €150 billion in revenues according to new figures

Victims’ Rights: New Strategy to empower victims

Poor diets may to be blame for 20cm height gaps among children, study says

Three ways batteries could power change in the world

Summer 2019 Economic Forecast: Growth clouded by external factors

Under-fives’ daily screen time should be kept to 60 minutes only, warns WHO

We must move from egocentric to ecocentric leadership to safeguard our planet

B-I-R-D: 4 digital technologies that can help supply chains take flight

EU Youth Conference concludes in Luxembourg with concrete plans on how to create real youth participation

Impressions of China

Why the answer to a more sustainable future could lie within the platform economy

‘We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers’: WHO chief

European Union and African Union sign partnership to scale up preparedness for health emergencies

The EU Commission fails to draw the right conclusions about corruption

Technology as an inclusion method while facing the COVID-19 pandemic: the “Coronavirus-SUS” app

Speech by President von der Leyen at the AmCham EU Transatlantic Conference 2021 “Global leadership: A transatlantic opportunity”

Migration and rule of law on next ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly agenda

Mankind’s first tool to fight malaria also kills

Can Eurozone’s uncertain growth answer the challenges that lie ahead?

This man is installing 100 trash barriers in Bali’s rivers to stop plastic pollution

“France will be there, it will always be there!”, French President Hollande says in a rather disorganised speech; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

This is why mountains matter more than you think

‘A new chapter’ dawns for democracy in Guinea-Bissau: top UN official

Human rights ‘core to sustainable development’: deputy UN chief

It’s time to stop talking about ethics in AI and start doing it

Brexit talks started with a London handicap and Brussels’ sternness

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

UN, world leaders, condemn Sri Lanka terrorist attacks targeting churches, hotels, which leave more than 200 dead

Predatory labour taxation not an issue for the Commission

Africa is facing a food crisis due to COVID-19. These seeds could help prevent it

UN chief calls for ‘a fair globalization’ with first-ever Global Goals Summit

Ebola in DR Congo: conflict zones could constitute ‘hiding places’ for the deadly virus – WHO chief

COVID-19: MEPs call for measures to close the digital gap in education

Statelessness for terrorists’ families, never an acceptable option, urges UN rights chief

The beginning of a revolution in healthcare

For Youth Rights: steps forward for better protection.

Statement on the Code of Practice against disinformation: Commission asks online platforms to provide more details on progress made

A Valentine’s Special: heart has nothing to do with it, it’s all Brain

MEPs debate Brexit and relations with China following EU spring summit

EU Budget: A Reform Support Programme and an Investment Stabilisation Function to strengthen Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union

3 innovations which are leading the fight to save our ocean

Approaching the challenges of COVID-19 vaccination

Chinese “BeiDou” GPS goes to market

For resilient, sustainable city mobility after COVID-19, these trends must continue

Team Europe partners with Equity Bank to support Kenyan business and agriculture amid COVID-19

5 reasons to protect mangrove forests for the future

TTIP update: postponed vote and INTA meeting shuffle cards again

Yanukovych attempts a violent and deadly cleansing of Kiev’s center

Donor countries need to reform development finance to meet 2030 pledge

Teenagers’ career expectations narrowing to limited range of jobs, OECD PISA report finds

More Stings?

Comments

  1. infographiclink2021 says:

    Very nice and informative article. LOVED the simple yet through writing. I too have just started a blog, and am awaiting nice comments. I know that European Commission Statement on the coordination of measures.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s