Covid-19: EU countries should not impose travel restrictions, ministers agree

The Council of the European Union said on December 13 that it had adopted updated recommendations on travel to the EU and on free movement in the EU during the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that under the new recommendations, EU countries should not impose any restrictions on travel on the grounds of public health.

However, the recommendations keep a number of safeguards in case of a deteriorating epidemiological situation, the statement said.

Where necessary to address a severe worsening of the epidemiological situation, EU countries should decide in a coordinated manner to reintroduce appropriate requirements for travellers prior to departure.

These could include vaccination, proof of recovery or testing. Member states could also apply additional measures on arrival such as additional testing or quarantine.

When a variant of concern or interest emerges in a third country, member states might exceptionally establish an urgent, common and temporary travel restriction or travel requirements.

Such a restriction should expire after 21 days unless member states decide to shorten it or extend it for an additional period, the statement said.

If a member state considers free movement restrictions are necessary due to a severe worsening of the epidemiological situation these restrictions should be limited to requiring travellers to be in possession of a valid EU digital Covid certificate. People who do not have a certificate could be required to undergo a test prior to or after arrival.

To be able to react quickly to new variants, the “emergency brake” is maintained, the statement said. In such cases a member state could require travellers to undergo quarantine or testing, even if they hold an EU digital Covid certificate.

(Photo: Rui Caldeira/

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