Over 12,250 people sign petition against Belgian ban on non-essential travel
Friday, 26 March 2021
An online petition to lift the ban on non-essential travel to and from Belgium passed 12,250 signatures on Friday.
The text is based on a complaint lodged on 10 March with the European Commission by Thierry Masson, a councillor for French citizens abroad elected in Belgium, with the support of Jérémy Michel, also a councillor for French citizens in Belgium.
The arguments point to a lack of proportionality of the measure. It is also noted that the ban on non-essential travel from 27 January to 1 March has been extended several times, with the latest deadline being 18 April.
“2.5 million people deprived of family ties in Europe by this measure is senseless,” said Masson, who called for replacing the measure with mandatory PCR tests and seven-day quarantines, “as provided for by European recommendations.”
Furthermore, the tests should be reimbursed, Masson added, or “at least when they are compulsory.”
This decision is crucial for the 300,000 or so French people living in Belgium, Masson argued.
The study “Critical analysis of a non-essential ban,” published on Tuesday by a group of researchers, lawyers and jurists, supports the legal arguments presented in the complaint to the European Commission, he said.
The study considers the ban to be contrary to European law and free movement within the European Union, as well as to the freedom to leave any country enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The researchers pointed out that this ban was intended to slow down the arrival of variants, which are now well present on Belgian territory, and that no convincing benefits could be put forward from the measure, which it called disproportionate.