Brussels (Brussels Morning) Yesterday, EU member states adopted a European Commission recommendation for a coordinated, easy-to-follow guide to restrictions on free movement as member countries cope with an upsurge in COVID pandemic infections. On approval by the Council, the Commission launched an interactive map – “Re-Open EU” — that classifies regions using green, orange, red or grey colour coding to indicate local epidemiological conditions.
Based on this coordinated approach, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will publish a weekly update of the map reflecting the latest criteria such as the percentage of positive tests, the number of cases and the number of tests per 100, 000 people.
“A month ago, the Commission put forward a proposal on how to address these challenges and support the millions of EU citizens who travel in the EU every day”, President Ursula von der Leyen said, announcing the new agreement and how it would work to help travellers navigate their way through the thicket of constantly changing restrictions and measures being put in place to curb the virus.
Despite the difficulties involved, the Commission has come up with some basic guidelines for the traveller drawing on the EU’s legal authority for the single market and freedom of movement of citizens. Other decisions such as limits on social gatherings, rules on when to wear masks, whether schools or businesses should close, for example, remain entirely at the discretion of national, or, in some instances, local health authorities. A case in point – the Netherlands entered into partial lockdown yesterday.
Offering, as it does, an interactive, colour-coded map derived from common criteria, the new agreement provides the travelling citizen with clearer and more timely information about prevailing conditions and the restrictions being enforced.
“Re-open EU”, a comprehensive compilation of up-to-date information from the Commission and from member state health authorities, is available in tall 24 EU official languages. It allows people to browse country-specific information through an interactive map, offering updates on applicable national measures, as well as practical advice for visitors in that country.