The EU has instructed its member states to remove any remaining COVID restrictions
The European Union Council released a new statement calling on Member States to abolish any lingering Coronavirus travel restrictions and allow full freedom of movement within the block, which had been nearly fully blocked during the outbreak.
The Council said today, December 13, that it has adopted revisions to the guidelines on travel to the EU and facilitating freedom of movement in the EU during the COVID-19 epidemic, through which they have recommended Member States not to impose any new restrictions.
“Under the new recommendations, Member States should not impose any restrictions on travel on the grounds of public health. However, the recommendations keep a number of safeguards in case of a deteriorating epidemiological situation,” the Council notes in its statement.
It also states that if the epidemiological situation worsens and the Member States need to address it, relevant limits, such as vaccination, proof of recovery, or testing, should be applied in a coordinated manner.
When a harmful variation is discovered in a specific third nation or world region, the Council allows Member States to impose urgent temporary travel restrictions that are uniform across all of them.
"Such a restriction should expire after 21 days unless member states elect to shorten or extend it for another period," the Council notes.
The Council has also kept the emergency brake, claiming that it is necessary in order to respond to new variants in a timely manner.
On October 21, Spain was the latest country to lift COVID-19 limitations for visitors from outside the EU, allowing them to enter without having to fill out a health form or show proof of vaccination, testing, or recovery.
Luxemburg had lifted all COVID-19 restrictions prior to Spain on October 1. The two countries were the last in Europe to maintain entry restrictions.
The Coronavirus pandemic had touched all sectors in Europe, but it had particularly crippled the travel and tourist industry, as all travel to, from, and within Europe was almost suspended in March 2020.
While the industry is still recovering, it is expected that by the end of 2023, European tourism will have recovered at least 75% of its 2019 figures.
According to the European Travel Commission (ETC), the airline industry has recovered the most, with August flight numbers only 11% down than August 2019 levels.
By fLEXI tEAM