Traveling within the European Union is going to be increasingly difficult. European leaders agreed this Thursday on the need to limit movements between member countries as much as possible, giving the go-ahead for each state to impose its own restrictions, such as mandatory tests or quarantines, without this implying, for the moment, a closure of the internal borders.
Objective: avoid all non-essential travel without closing the borders
They have made this decision in the face of an epidemiological situation that they describe as “extremely serious”, in particular due to the threat of new variants of the virus.
“In view of the very serious health situation, all non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged, both within countries and, of course, across borders said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. At the same time, it is essential to keep the single market functioning. Therefore, when it comes to workers and essential goods, they must continue to cross borders smoothly. When it comes to external borders, we will also propose additional security measures “.
Following the summit, Portugal has announced that it is suspending all flights to the UK. The Netherlands also temporarily interrupts its air connections both with the United Kingdom and with South America and South Africa. France, for its part, has imposed a negative PCR test as mandatory for all travelers who want to enter its territory.
Charles Michel call on Pfizer to “fulfill its commitments” in the distribution of vaccines
Another thorny issue addressed at the summit was the supply of vaccines. Criticism has rained on the summit for the slow delivery of Pfizer-BioNTech doses. Several countries demand that other vaccines, apart from Pfizer and Moderna, such as AstraZeneca’s, be authorized as soon as possible.
_ “The leaders want vaccination to be accelerated and, in this sense, delivery commitments made by companies must be respected –_claimed the president of the Council, Charles Michel-. The leaders reaffirmed that the vaccines should be distributed at the same time, depending on the population. The need to closely monitor the vaccination process was also reaffirmed. All possible means will be considered to ensure rapid supply, including early distribution to avoid delays. “
The controversial community vaccination passport causes rejection
The most controversial proposal, raised by Greece, was to create a vaccination passport at the community level. An idea raises legal and political doubts, due to the risk that it may entail a limitation of the rights of those who do not want or cannot be vaccinated.