Brussels wants freedom of travel within EU by summer

by Deborah Cater
EU wants freedome of travel by summer

The European Commission asks the 27 Member States of the European Union to gradually lift travel restrictions between countries. Given the number of infections and the vaccination rate in the EU, this should be possible.

“Europeans should enjoy a safe and peaceful summer. As vaccination progresses, we propose to gradually ease travel measures with the digital Covid certificate within the EU”, tweeted EU chief executive Ursula von der Leyen.

Clarity and predictability

Vonn Leyen believes this system will give Europeans not only “clarity and predictability” but also the freedom to travel again. According to EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, Europeans need to know how things stand before they book, travel and spend money. He spoke at a press conference where they presented the proposal to update travel recommendations within the EU. Furthermore, Reynders pleaded for a “coordinated approach”.

Broadening ‘orange’

Another proposal was to adjust the thresholds of the colour scale which indicates the infection risk per region in the European Union. To define an area as ‘orange’ (medium-risk), the proposal would raise the maximum number of cases in 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants from 50 to 75. Orange areas will then have values between 75-150 cases instead of the current range of 50-100 cases.

No restrictions from green areas

Brussels wants travellers coming from green areas to have no restrictions (e.g. test or quarantine obligation). This would be regardless of whether or not they hold the European certificate. In addition, Brussels has also taken advantage of this revision to clarify the provisions of the European certificate. One such provision is the quarantine exemption for minors whose parents are exempt because they have already been vaccinated.

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In addition, the Commission wants those without a certificate to be exempt from restrictions if they travel from areas with low levels of infection.

Vaccinated travellers can travel without restrictions with the certificate fourteen days of full vaccination (in most cases two doses). Each Member State has the freedom to also allow unrestricted travel for those who have received only the first dose.

Recovered patients

For patients who have recovered from corona, the EU executive body requests their European certificate remains valid for a maximum of 180 days. PCR tests would be performed within 72 hours before travel. The rapid antigen tests, which are accepted by the different countries, must be performed 48 hours before travel.

Member States to discuss proposal on Wednesday

The Commission’s proposals are not binding but an incentive for the EU to agree on their measures. Member States will discuss the proposal on Wednesday.

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