The European Commission, as of 28 October 2020, has launched an additional set of actions geared towards helping European recover from and prevent COVID-19, according to an announcement published by the Commission.
Among the several issues included in the announcement, the Commission has focused on safe travel within the EU and Schengen Area.
Above all else, the Commission called for Member States to coordinate their responses on travel due to COVID-19, which is something that still has not happened since the beginning of border closures several months ago.
The Commission has previously published a list of recommendations for Member States to follow in order to coordinate their responses, which to date has not been applied on any large level by Member States.
The Commission has also announced that the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the ECDC are working on producing testing protocol for travelers, as well as producing a common quarantine protocol for entrants into the EU.
In addition, they are producing Passenger Locator Forms that will allow Member States to assess risk with individual travelers, while fully respecting the passengers’ privacy. The Passenger Locator Forms will likely be available in November 2020.
Finally, the Commission is calling for all Member States to post accurate and timely information about travel restrictions to Re-Open EU, which can be found by clicking this link. In addition, a Re-Open EU mobile app will be available to persons worldwide and “will launch in the coming weeks.”
The Commission also has presented guidance to Member States on “non-essential travel from non-EU countries into the EU” by presenting categories of travelers that Member States can use to form their policies around.
The Commission also has called for Member States to allow for the reunion of people in “durable relationships,” exempting people from other countries to visit in order to see their loved ones.
Other areas of focus in the Commission’s announcement are:
- Improving the flow of information to allow informed decision-making.
- Establishing more effective and rapid testing.
- Making full use of contact tracing and warning apps across borders.
- Effective vaccination.
- Effective communication to citizens.
- Securing essential supplies.
- Facilitating safe travel.
- Green lanes extension.
The Commission continues to take the risks associated with COVID-19 seriously and treat it as such.
In addition, they are striving to create an EU that will stand together in their responses to outside threats such as COVID-19.
“The rise in COVID-19 infection rates across Europe is very alarming. Decisive immediate action is needed for Europe to protect lives and livelihoods, to alleviate the pressure on healthcare systems, and to control the spread of the virus. Next month, we will present the first step towards a European Health Union. In the meantime, Member States must improve cooperation and data sharing. Our EU surveillance system is only as strong as its weakest link. It is only by showing true European solidarity and working together that we can overcome this crisis. Together we are stronger,” said Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health, Food, and Safety.
To date, responses by Member States have not yet been announced.