Brussels battles capitals over border restrictions

The European Commission once more hit out at coronavirus journey restrictions imposed by EU international locations, threatening authorized motion forward of a gathering of EU leaders this week.

The Commission despatched letters to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary and Sweden to ask them to elevate restrictions on their borders in keeping with a advice on journey that EU international locations agreed to earlier this month. The six international locations have 10 days to reply.

“We belief we are going to discover options with member states involved with out having to revert to authorized steps, which might be prolonged,” a Commission spokesperson stated Tuesday.

At a press convention following a video assembly of European affairs ministers Tuesday night, Portugal’s European Affairs Minister Ana Paula Zacarias stated: “We actually hope that throughout the European Council, additionally our leaders can talk about this matter and that certainly we are able to in some way abide by what’s the advice.”

Zacarias, whose nation holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, acknowledged the settlement in opposition to inner journey restrictions was not necessary, however added: “It will likely be essential if we may stick as a lot as doable to the advice that we adopted all collectively.”

EU leaders are anticipated to debate the difficulty throughout their videoconference on Thursday, after new guidelines on the borders of a number of international locations disrupted traffic flows.

Germany requires truckers getting into the nation from the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol area, labeled excessive threat because of the presence of mutations, to pre-register and carry proof of a current adverse coronavirus check. Belgium has additionally prohibited non-essential journey throughout borders.

“For the inexperienced lanes system to operate on the bottom, transport staff shouldn’t be required to quarantine, and as well as, checks needs to be absolutely the exception,” Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič instructed the press convention.

He stated EU international locations ought to keep away from “blanket journey bans” for residents — such because the one currently enforced by Belgium — and stated that international locations ought to as a substitute go for focused measures: “Mandatory quarantine is an efficient instrument to discourage touristic journey, if correctly enforced.”

But Germany’s European Affairs Minister Michael Roth on Tuesday defended his nation’s choice, saying that whereas the principles put a “large pressure” on border areas, commuters and freight transport and the only market, folks’s well being comes first.

“We want giant testing capacities; to not bully anybody, or to make mobility troublesome for anybody, however to guard our residents,” he stated.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel instructed a closed-door assembly of her Christian Democratic Union political group on Tuesday that “we now have a 3rd wave” and warned that case numbers may rise once more rapidly if Germany doesn’t stay vigilant, in accordance with a report by German every day Bild.

Meanwhile, as different international locations think about find out how to open up journey — Greece, particularly, is pushing onerous for the usage of vaccine passports to permit folks to journey — Šefčovič reiterated that the Commission didn’t, for now, see this as a viable choice.

According to the EU’s infectious illness company, “there may be at the moment no proof {that a} vaccinated particular person can not nonetheless be contaminated and nonetheless transmit the illness,” he instructed Tuesday’s press convention. “Of course, this place may evolve as extra proof turns into out there.”

“In any case, one level have to be clear: Being vaccinated should not turn into a precondition for EU residents to train their elementary rights to free motion. Because free motion should stay doable upon the situation that testing or quarantine necessities are met,” he stated.

The publish Brussels battles capitals over border restrictions appeared first on Politico.

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