The European Council has adopted a recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restrictions of free movement in response to the pandemic.
The EC said that the recommendation aimed “to avoid fragmentation and disruption, and to increase transparency and predictability for citizens and businesses”.
Michael Roth, Germany’s minister of state for Europe, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our daily lives in many ways. Travel restrictions have made it difficult for some of our citizens to get to work, to university or to visit their loved ones. It is our common duty to ensure coordination on any measures which affect free movement and to give our citizens all the information they need when deciding on their travel.”
The Council agreed that any measures restricting free movement to protect public health must be proportionate and non-discriminatory, and must be lifted as soon as the epidemiological situation allows.
The EC has called on EU states to provide to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control with the number of new cases per 100,000 population over 14 days, plus tests carried out per 100,000 people during every seven-day period, and the test-positivity rates.
The traffic light system allows safe travel to and from 15 countries listed as ‘green’ and ‘amber’ with no restrictions. For 15 ‘red’-list countries, there may be restrictions in place (e.g testing pre-departure/on arrival).
Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said: “We urge all EU governments to adopt the EU traffic light system without delay. Europe’s aviation and tourism industries cannot afford further job losses, and until a vaccine is available, we must learn to live with the virus.
“The implementation of this coordinated regional approach will help restore consumer confidence ahead of a difficult winter season, and also allow all airlines plan for Summer 2021, with millions of jobs dependent on the recovery of our aviation and tourism sectors.
“As confirmed by the WHO, aviation is not responsible for an increase in EU Covid rates and quarantines simply don’t work. EU governments need to act fast and implement the EU traffic Light system immediately following the Council meeting and give Europe’s tourism economies the relief that’s much needed”.