The European Commission has asked the Twenty-seven to take more measures to “strongly discourage” travel both within member states and between them and to third countries to try to contain the contagion of new coronavirus variants, while calling for the creation of a new category «dark red» for identify the areas of greatest risk for exceeding 500 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
“The first recommendation is not to travel,” said the Interior Commissioner, the Swedish Socialist Ylva Johansson, at a press conference in Brussels to present the details of a proposal that was broadly advanced by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, last Thursday after meeting with the EU Heads of State and Government.
According to a recreation shown in the same appearance by the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, if the fourth color is incorporated into the risk classification that the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) periodically publishes there will be a dozen countries that would already have part of their territory tinted dark red, including the entire territory of Spain.
Brussels, which has no competences in health matters or border management, will begin this Monday the negotiations at technical level with member states for achieve consensus “as soon as possible” that the Twenty-seven commit to follow, although the national authorities will continue to have the last word on whether or not to implement the recommendations.
The Community Executive believes that unnecessary displacements “should not occur at all” from or to regions that exceed the threshold of 500 infections per 100,000 in the period of fourteen days, according to the commissioner, and recommends that people who finally travel on trips considered “essential” undergo a PCR test before departure and adhere to a strict fourteen-day quarantine upon arrival at destination.
The recommendation of the European Commission follows the one published last week by the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), which already urged the countries of the European Union to strengthen the measures to discourage “non-essential” travel.
However, the Commission insists that it believes that the closure of borders within the European Union is not an effective solution against the virus, but rather that an approach that adapts the restrictive measures to the epidemiological situation of each region, regardless of where borders are present, and calls for ensuring that the free movement of essential and cross-border goods and workers will be maintained smoothly.
Also following the recommendations of the ECDC, Brussels asks member states to “maintain or reinforce” severe measures such as the principle of staying at home or the temporary closure of businesses in places where the risk of contagion is considered to be very high, although It also stresses that it is essential to strengthen tracing and testing to improve pandemic control and the sequencing of new cases.
The Commission also takes advantage of this recommendation to insist on the need for a common passenger form, an initiative that Brussels hopes will be underway throughout the EU at the end of last year but whose proposal is still under development due to legal complications that It implies requiring travelers to provide certain personal data that would later be shared with the rest of the member states.