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EU steps up pressure on Belgium to end travel ban

Credit: Belga

The European Commission is stepping up the pressure on the Belgian authorities to end the ban on non-essential travel currently in force until after the Easter holidays.

On Twitter, European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said that in a conversation with Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden, he insisted that Belgium must respect the principle of free movement of persons in the EU.

“The Commission expects an end date for the ban on non-essential travel, and other less restrictive measures, such as testing and quarantines,” he said.

Belgium was criticised for its travel ban several times by the Commission, which said in early March that it was “surprised” by the government’s decision to extend the ban again, despite several requests not to.

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At yesterday’s Consultative Committee, the authorities confirmed that the ban on non-essential travel would remain in force until 18 April, if the agreement on mandatory testing and quarantine of travellers is approved.

“The importance of a quick entry into force of the cooperation agreement on testing and quarantine” was also discussed, according to Verlinden, as was the Commission’s proposal of the Digital Green Certificate.

Earlier this week, the Commission presented its proposal for that Certificate, or so-called “vaccination certificates,” which have to make free travel in the EU possible again this summer.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times