The European Commission has proposed an update to the Council Recommendation on the coordination of free movement restrictions in the EU, which were put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the epidemiological situation is improving and vaccination campaigns are speeding up all over the EU, the Commission is proposing that Member States gradually ease travel measures, including most importantly for the holders of the EU Digital COVID Certificate. The Commission has also proposed to update the common criteria for risk areas and to introduce an ‘emergency brake’ mechanism, to address the prevalence of new variants of concern or interest. The proposal also includes specific provisions on children to ensure unity of travelling families and a standard validity period for tests.
These are the “key updates” proposed by the Commission to the common approach to travel measure inside EU territory:
- fully vaccinated persons holding vaccination certificates should be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine 14 days after having received the last dose;
- recovered persons, holding relevant certification, should be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine during the first 180 days after a positive PCR test;
- persons with a valid test certificate should be exempted from possible quarantine requirements;
- Member States should re-introduce travel measures for vaccinated and recovered persons if the epidemiological situation deteriorates rapidly or where a high prevalence of variants of concern or interest has been reported;
- clarification and simplification of requirements imposed by Member States to travel;
- to ensure family unity, minors travelling with parents should be exempted from quarantine when the parents do not need to undergo quarantine, for example due to vaccination; children under 6 should also be exempted from travel-related testing;
- the thresholds of the ECDC map in view of the epidemiological situation and progress on vaccination should be adapted.
The above said proposals should be interpreted in line with the EU Digital COVID Certificate measures, in reference to which the Commission calls for further efforts to ensure their smooth rollout.
The above said Commission proposal also ensures consistency with the rules on non-essential travel to the EU, already updated by the Council on 20 May 2021.