Movement in the EU: states harmonize criteria but not restrictions

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With the increasingly rapid spread of the coronavirus, circulation within the European Union will remain hampered for at least long weeks. But citizens should finally see more clearly in the field of possibilities. Under pressure in particular from France , the 27 have just agreed to coordinate their travel restrictions and put an end to the current mess of scattered national measures. The ambassadors of the member states gave the green light on Friday to a recommendation which must be formally adopted on Tuesday in the Council by the ministers for European affairs. “This is an important step which […] will allow more predictability and transparency for travelers in the EU”, welcomed a spokesperson for the

Common thermometer

 First priority: finally get the same thermometer . Three indicators are adopted to define the degree of risk of an area: the number of new cases notified per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days, the percentage of positive tests and the number of tests carried out per 100,000 inhabitants over a week. On this basis, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will publish a weekly map of all regions of the EU, with four color codes: green, orange, red and gray.

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 In green areas (infection rate less than 25 and positivity rate less than 4%), no restrictions should apply. But travelers from an orange, red (infection rate greater than 150, or greater than 50 with a combined positivity greater than 4%) or gray zone (insufficient data), may be subject to quarantine and / or screening, a decision that will remain with the State of arrival. The Europeans have not gone so far as to harmonize the duration of quarantines, which today vary from seven to fourteen days. Charge to the host State toughening measures against a region of departure to warn its authorities 48 hours before, and travelers at least 24 hours before. Travelers performing a number of functions deemed essential (diplomats,

 Open borders

The constraints should therefore be substantial, as many regions are already red according to the criteria selected. The primary objective is to avoid any re-closing of borders: The recommendation provides that states should not refuse entry into their territory for European travelers, which Hungary is currently doing. “If a person develops symptoms upon arrival […], testing, diagnosis, isolation and contact tracing should be done in accordance with local practice and entry should not be refused”, indicates the text, which provides for the establishment of a single European form for travelers. “We must harmonize so as not to add to the difficulties of the moment a form of European confusion or every man for himself”, Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs, insisted on “France Info” on Sunday. Luxembourg regretted that the text “legitimizes and confirms the restrictions rather than promoting a return to normalcy”. It remains to be seen whether all the states will play the game over time, after not having known how to coordinate during the spring closings of the borders as during their reopening during the summer.

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