Council continues to delay adoption of coordination of travel restrictions in the EU
Monday, 05 October 2020
The European Commission’s proposal for EU-wide coordination of travel restrictions has not yet been adopted by the Council though more than a month has passed since it was presented and a second wave of the coronavirus is now hitting most EU members states.
In the proposal, announced on 4 September, the Commission is looking into a way to streamline the different restrictions in the member states. Currently, it is still up to the member states to decide what colour they assign certain travel zones in other countries, leading to confusion for travellers because of constantly changing travel restrictions and quarantine rules.
The Commission proposed a coordinated EU approach to travel restrictions within the EU and called on the member states to adopt common criteria and thresholds to determine restrictions, a common colour code to map out areas, a common framework for travellers from high-risk areas, and the clear and timely dissemination of information on any restrictions introduced.
Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders had hoped that the proposal would have been adopted by the General Affairs Council meeting on 22 September but feared already then that it would take longer time and he has been proven right.
At the press conference following the European Council meeting last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addressed the issue briefly and urged the member states to adopt the Commission proposal.
Asked by The Brussels Times at today’s press conference (5 October) about the state of play, the chief spokesperson of the Commission clarified that the Commission is urging the Council, in its on-going work on the file, to take a decision as soon as possible. The Commission’s position is clear – it is urgent to reach agreement on the proposal.
It was not clear what is delaying a decision. According to the Commission’s replies, the proposal has already been discussed in various forums and has been welcomed by the member states.