The Council of the European Union issued a new statement instructing European countries once again to follow the general rule on travel: remove all remaining covid restrictions and promote full freedom of movement within the bloc, which almost completely stopped during the pandemic. The document was published by the European Commission on 13 December.
In line with the updated recommendation, the Council announced that it had adopted amendments to the EU travel advice recommending that Member States refrain from imposing any new covid restrictions.
“According to the new recommendations, Member States should not introduce any travel restrictions for public health reasons. However, the recommendations retain a number of precautionary measures in case the epidemiological situation worsens,” the message noted.
It also stated that in the event of a deterioration in the epidemiological situation and the need for Member States to restrict free movement, appropriate restrictive measures should be introduced in a coordinated manner in the form of presenting a valid EU digital certificate for covid, which contains data on vaccination/recovery/testing .
In cases where a dangerous variant of the coronavirus is detected in a third country in the world, EU Member States may, in exceptional cases, impose urgent, general and temporary travel restrictions. “Such a restriction should expire after 21 days, unless member countries decide to reduce it or extend it for an additional period,” the document said.
In addition, the Council also retained the so-called “emergency braking” regime, since, in its opinion, this measure is necessary for a timely response to new covid variants. Recall that Spain became the latest country to lift sanitary restrictions on entry due to COVID-19 for tourists entering from outside the EU on October 21. This allowed them to cross the border without completing a medical certificate or providing proof of vaccination, testing or recovery.
The covid pandemic has affected all areas of activity in Europe. In particular, it actually brought the tourism industry to its knees when, in March 2020, all trips to Europe, from it and within the region almost completely stopped. Even though the travel sector has yet to fully recover, European Tourism Commission (ETC) experts have predicted that by the end of 2023, European tourism will recover at least 75% of its performance from pre-Covid 2019. According to her, the air transportation sector recovered better than others: the volume of flights in August was only 11% lower than the level of pre-Covid August 2019.
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