Council revises Recommendation on free movement restrictions

On 14 June, the Council of the EU adopted a Recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This amends Recommendation 2020/1475, which dates from 13 October 2020, stipulating a coordinated approach on a number of issues, such as common criteria when deciding whether to introduce restrictions to free movement, a mapping of the risk of COVID-19 transmission based on an agreed colour code, and coordinated measures applied to persons moving between areas, depending on the level of risk of transmission in those areas.

The new June 2021 amendments include a new reference to citizens in border regions which was absent in the 2020 Recommendation. Under the new Article 19b of the revised Recommendation, it is stated that “Member States should not require persons living in border regions and travelling across the border on a daily or frequent basis for the purposes of work, business, education, family, medical care or caregiving to undergo a test or quarantine/self-isolation, in particular persons exercising critical functions or essential for critical infrastructure”. It adds that “if the epidemiological situation on both sides of the border is comparable, no travel-related testing requirement should be imposed”.

Nonetheless, the Recommendation is not legally binding.

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