Free movement: the Commission welcomes the approval by the Council of the updated Recommendation on free movement in the EU

The Commission welcomes today’s approval by the Council of the EU of the update to the Recommendation on the coordination of free movement restrictions in the EU. The Commission proposed this update on 31 May, in response to the call by EU leaders to revise the Recommendation by mid-June. On this occasion Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said: “We can be confident now: with this update and with the EU Digital COVID Certificate, free movement of Europeans will be safeguarded.  With the start of the summer, citizens will see their travel facilitated – with only limited and proportionate, if any, travel restrictions.” Among others, Member States agreed that fully vaccinated and recovered citizens should be exempted from travel related restrictions. Member States also agreed on clarified and simplified travel requirements: travellers from orange areas could only be required to show a pre-departure test; while travellers from red areas could be required to undergo quarantine, unless they have a negative pre-departure test. The Recommendation clarifies the rules for children under twelve years, ensuring unity of families when traveling and prescribes a harmonised validity period of tests: 72h for PCR and 48h for RAT tests. Thresholds of the ECDC map have now been adapted in view of the epidemiological situation and progress on vaccination. The Recommendation also allows Member States, as part of an “emergency brake” to re-introduce travel measures, in case situation deteriorates rapidly. The updated Questions and Answers will be available online later today.