TheEuropean Union goes one step further to stop the spread of the coronaviruson the European continent. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has proposed to the 27 European governments that access to the EU countries from abroad be restricted for an initial period of one month that could be extended “if necessary”. The proposal, which has already been notified to the partners and members of the G-7 (United States, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom) during the teleconference held this afternoon, must be approved on Tuesday by the EU leaders in the second emergency summit to be held in one week.
“We need to do more to reduce the pressure on our healthcare systems.The fewer trips, the more we can contain the virus“said the President of the European Commission, who has appeared together with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to account for the latest decisions. As explained by the measure, it has already been proposed to European leaders, during the various talks held in the last hours, which must now give their final approval. “We have received firm support and tomorrow (by Tuesday) we will end,” explained the German.
The European Commission plan contemplates the introduction of exemptions for certain groups that may continue to enter the EU during this period:European citizens who are in third countries and who want to return to the EU, health personnel and scientists working to find coronavirus treatments and vaccines, diplomats, their families, cross-border workers as well as long-term residents. According to von der Leyen, for these measures to be effective they will also have to be applied by countries associated with the Schengen area, such as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechstenstein, while the British, as Europeans, will be able to continue traveling to the EU.
Furthermore, and to ensure the full functioning of the internal market and the supply of goods during this period,the Brussels plan contemplates special measuresso that the supply of goods continues smoothly. To do this, they propose to governments the creation of green lanes or expressways for the transport of goods, food, medical products and emergency services. “We are totally determined to do whatever is necessary to protect citizens,” Michel summarized, admitting that this is a “serious”, “long” and “difficult” crisis for which coordination and discipline on the part of the of European citizens.
The virus, present in the 27
As a community spokesperson warned on Monday, “the virus is already present in all member states” so “closing borders is not necessarily the best way to guarantee that we can contain the outbreak in the EU.”Brussels trusts that this measure will allow the EU to protect the space of free movementof Schengen, one of the main achievements of European construction, in the face of the avalanche of unilateral decisions that European governments have begun to adopt to limit movements within this area. Until Monday, as reported by the European Commission, seven countries have officially notified the reintroduction of temporary controls – Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania and Germany – to which Switzerland joins.
The new proposal goes even further than the guidelines issued this Monday by the European Commission on border management. In them, and in relation to the situation at the external borders,the Community Executive recommends “systematic controls”-including healthcare- to all persons, European nationals or third country nationals, who want to access the Schengen area from outside the EU and support the possibility of rejecting the entry of third country nationals who “have symptoms”, “have been particularly exposed to the risk of infection “or” are considered a threat to public health. ” As an alternative measure, however, they suggest quarantine isolates.
The guidelines also support the reintroduction of “temporary border controls at internal borders“if justified for reasons of internal security or public order.” In an extremely critical situation a Member State can identify a need to reintroduce controls as a reaction to the risk of a communicable disease, “accepts the Commission, recalling that they must be proportional and non-discriminatory .