May 11
2021
Dolores Utrilla
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3rd May 2021
Consumer, Health & Environment Covid-19 External Relations & Trade Human Rights Internal Market

Commission’s proposal for amendment of Council Recommendation on Covid-19 restrictions to non-essential travel to the EU

The European Commission has just presented a proposal for a Council Recommendation calling on Member States to ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU to take into account the progress of vaccination campaigns and developments in the epidemiological situation worldwide.

The proposed recommendation would amend Council Recommendation 2020/912 on the temporary restriction of non-essential travel into the EU and the possible lifting of such restriction, in order to introduce:

  • A call on Member States to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons for (i) all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation and (ii) all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine (which could be extended to vaccines having completed the WHO emergency use listing process). This should be facilitated once the Digital Green Certificate becomes operational, in line with the rules the Commission proposed on 17 March. Until the Digital Green Certificate is operational, Member States should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries based on national law, taking into account the ability to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate and whether it contains all relevant data.
  • A rise in the threshold related to the number of new COVID-19 cases used to determine a list of countries from which all travel should be permitted. The proposal is to increase the threshold of 14-day cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate from 25 to 100. The adapted threshold should allow the Council to expand the list of countries from which non-essential travel is permitted regardless of vaccination status, subject to health-related measures such as testing and/or quarantine. As now, the Council should review this list at least every 2 weeks.
  • A new ‘emergency brake’ mechanism, to be coordinated at the EU level, intended to limit the risk of new variants entering the EU. This will allow Member States to act quickly and temporarily limit to a strict minimum all travel from affected countries for the time needed to put in place appropriate sanitary measures.

The Commission’s proposal is available here.

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