Covid-19, EU – Baltic States, Latvia, Legislation, Transport

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 01.11.2020, 02:35

EU agrees on common rules for coronavirus travel restrictions

BC, Riga, 13.10.2020.Print version
European Union countries on Tuesday agreed on common criteria to coordinate coronavirus travel restrictions, informs LETA/AFP.

Photo: mfa.gov.lv

Ministers from the 27 countries agreed the new guidelines at a meeting in Luxembourg, putting in place a common mapping system to define risk areas in the EU.


The rules, however, are not binding on member states.


Under the plan, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will publish a weekly map of the EU using a traffic light color system to indicate the level of risk in each area. Levels will be determined by a variety of epidemiological factors including new virus cases per 100,000 population in the preceding 14 days, and the level of positive tests. A fourth color, grey, will be allocated to areas with not enough data.


Travelers coming from a red, orange or grey zone could be required to quarantine or take a test for Covid-19, while those coming from a green zone would not face any measures.


EU countries would not be able to refuse entry to people coming from other member states -- which Hungary is currently doing, with exceptions for Czechs, Poles and Slovaks.


The plans also include exceptions for people doing "essential" jobs as well as a common contact tracing form for travelers.


France welcomed the decision, but Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, who abstained in the vote, said the text of the agreement was not yet at a finished state. Europe, which has seen more than 6.5 million cases of Covid-19 and 240,000 deaths, according to AFP figures, is battling to contain a second wave of the pandemic.


Latvia supports the need for greater and closer coordination among EU member states concerning national measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (New Unity) said at a meeting of the European Union's General Affairs Council.


As LETA was told at the Foreign Ministry, Rinkevics today attended the meeting of the EU General Affairs in Luxembourg at which EU foreign ministers discussed and adopted a recommendation to promote a coordinated approach by EU Member States as well as criteria in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


According to the Foreign Ministry's information, by setting out common thresholds for the spread of the disease and criteria for travel restrictions, the recommendations will help avoid fragmentation and promote transparency and predictability for persons and businesses.


At the meeting, the EU foreign ministers were briefed on progress achieved in the trilogue with the European Parliament about the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework and a new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU. With the agreement still pending, the ministers called for making every effort so that the agreement could be reached as soon as possible and EU funds would help EU economies recover from the crisis.


In a discussion with the EU’s chief negotiator on the future of the relations between the EU and the United Kingdom, the Latvian foreign minister expressed support for further negotiations and the efforts of reaching a comprehensive agreement between the EU and the UK on their future relationship.






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