In light of the raging coronavirus pandemic, the EU must keep its internal borders open to maintain the operation of the single market, the head of the European Council Charles Michel stated after the summit of EU leaders.
“We are convinced that we must keep the borders open in order to keep the internal market working,” he said.
On Thursday, the European Commission introduced the concept of "dark red" zones of the pandemic in Europe, referring to the areas with the highest spread of coronavirus in each state.
This week's @ECDC_EU map was just published.— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) January 21, 2021
It classifies regions based on the local epidemiological situation.
See the latest map below and find out more here: https://t.co/cg6xndvXQC#StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/va46Grxndx
The summit also approved the decision to restrict non-essential travel of citizens, Michel added.
We are convinced borders must remain open. At the same time, we are also convinced restrictions on non-essential travel must be considered. @EUCouncil recommendations might have to be adapted in this respect. #EUCO #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/X8Vv3UPrPJ— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) January 21, 2021
Earlier EU member states agreed on the mutual recognition of coronavirus tests to facilitate travel within the Union.
"Today, member states, through a written procedure, unanimously agreed with the Council's recommendation establishing a common basis for the use of rapid antigen tests and mutual recognition of test results for COVID-19 across the EU," the EU statement says.
It is considered that the mutual recognition of tests carried out by certified health authorities is "very important for facilitating cross-border travel, tracing cross-border contacts and treatment [of those infected]."