EU Commission in Dispute With Germany Over COVID Border Measures

EU Commission in Dispute With Germany Over COVID Border Measures

Germany faces criticism from the EU over its entry rules for the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Tyrol. A letter of complaint from the EU Commission to the German EU ambassador Michael Clauss in Brussels states that several actions taken by Germany were disproportionate or unfounded and not on course with common recommendations for travelling within the EU, the member states agreed upon a few weeks ago.

The Commission now expects a response within ten working days. Similar letters were sent to Belgium, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, whose border measures the EU Commission also opposes.

In the four-page letter, the EU Commission lists in detail the measures it considers to be inappropriate. For instance, it emphasizes that according to the EU health authority ECDC, only a few British virus variant cases have been discovered in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In several other EU countries, the figures were higher. Moreover, the Commission is dissatisfied with the exceptions that apply to the entry ban. These do not include families living across borders.

The EU Commission also considers the requirements for truck drivers to be questionable. They would also have to present a corona test that is no more than 48 hours old if they had only crossed the variant areas. This 48-hour rule enables one to be tested in Poland, Italy or Slovenia, then cross a virus variant area and then enter Germany, which the Commission considers an inconsistency in Germany’s approach. Furthermore, the Commission is calling on Germany to accept corona tests in Czech and Slovak – not just German, English, French and Italian.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Tyrol are considered areas with particularly dangerous virus mutations in Germany since February 14. With a few exceptions, entry is therefore prohibited. From the perspective of Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the border controls, initially scheduled for ten days, should be extended further. Seehofer had already rejected the EU Commission’s previous criticism of the German measures.

In principle, the EU Commission emphasizes that restrictions on freedom of movement for reasons of public health could be justified. However, such measures must be non-discriminatory and proportionate. Germany is being invited to coordinate more closely with the recommendations of the EU states, the letter concludes.

(Photo: Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

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