17 Dec 2021 9:17 pm
One of the dominant themes at the summit of EU heads of state and government in Brussels, which has now come to an end, was the spread of the Omikron variant. Several member states have already tightened travel rules single-handedly, but not all are in favor.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, emphasized shortly after the EU summit of the heads of state and government that vaccination and boosters are the answer to “the rapidly spreading” omicron variant of the coronavirus. But several member states have already – single-handedly – issued stricter entry rules.
Italy will now require vaccinated and recovered travelers from the EU to pass a negative PCR test. In addition to test evidence, the unvaccinated must also be quarantined for five days. Athens, too, has decided, for fear of Omikron, to introduce tests for those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered before they enter Greece. However, a quick test is sufficient here, but it must not be older than 24 hours.
A common line for all EU member states has not yet emerged. For example, Germany and France have spoken out against mandatory PCR tests when traveling within the Community. After the EU summit, French President Emmanuel Macron said at a joint press conference with Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz:
“We do not intend to introduce these tests within the European Union because we attach great importance to the smooth functioning of our common area.”
According to Macron, the effectiveness of such a measure would be greatly reduced because cross-border commuters would usually be excluded from them. Germany’s new Chancellor took the same view.
In the final document of the summit meeting, vaccination was mainly advertised, but additional requirements, including those for vaccinated persons, were not explicitly excluded. It was stated that introduced restrictions “should not undermine the internal market” and should not impede freedom of movement between member states “disproportionately”. In addition, all restrictions should be “coordinated” and “based on objective criteria”.
The 27 EU member states have been discussing the coordination of travel policy for weeks with the aim of containing the virus without severely affecting travel within the European Schengen area. In this way, queues at the borders and food bottlenecks across the EU are to be avoided at all costs.
According to one Message the news agency Reuters An unspecified diplomat pointed out that introducing additional tests would reduce the value of the EU-wide COVID certificate. The document, also known as the “Green Pass”, was introduced in the summer and is intended to enable free travel during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The certificate includes proof of a corona vaccination, testing or recovery.
Last week the EU Commission received the report from Reuters suggested that member states in future only require a negative test for people – including vaccinated people – who are traveling from outside the EU. This measure should therefore be discussed at a meeting on December 21st.
One thing became clear after the summit: According to plans by the EU Commission and Council President von der Leyen, the corona vaccination certificate should lose its validity after nine months.
more on the subject – WHO advocates keeping the borders open despite the new Corona variant