“We do not close borders,” insisted Mr. De Croo, questioned by Peter De Roover (N-VA) and Kattrin Jadin (MR), a German-speaking elected official whose fellow citizens are particularly concerned by cross-border travel.
The ministerial decree, which contains the restrictive measures taken to fight against the coronavirus, includes a “fairly long” list of all authorized cross-border trips, noted the head of government.
The Prime Minister had contact with the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders. The former head of Belgian diplomacy recalled on Monday that countries which, like Belgium, went beyond the recommendations of the European Union in terms of health restrictions on free movement had to provide “a very clear explanation on the proportional, necessary and non-discriminatory nature ”of the measures concerned.
“If countries want to go further, they have to give a justification,” said De Croo. “This is not a request for additional justification. I spoke about it with Mr Reynders: his reasoning is that the arguments we gave, in particular in the press conference after the concertation committee, constitute a justification ”.
The Prime Minister is confident about the European reaction. “In my eyes, the justification is very clear: before the Christmas break, we kindly but insisted on asking the population not to travel. Despite our request, a number of people traveled. In the meantime, we know from the tests that among these citizens a fairly high proportion have contracted a foreign mutation of the virus. As the request did not have enough effect, this constitutes a justification for new measures, and I understood that the European Commission would not ask us for additional justification ”, he indicated.