December 7, 2023

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De Croo: "Division over travel rules may jeopardize Corona's testimony" |  Corona virus what you need to know

De Croo: “Division over travel rules may jeopardize Corona’s testimony” | Corona virus what you need to know

It is critical that member states continue to harmonize travel conditions within the European Union. Otherwise, Corona’s testimony will be at risk. Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo (Open Vld) warned against this at the European summit on Thursday. At the end of the debate, the leaders were only able to conclude that a unified approach is currently out of reach.

Read all about Corona Virus in this file.

Addressing the Corona crisis was once again at the top of the leaders’ agenda. This time much attention has been paid to tightening the rules for travel to the EU and within the EU. The Commission put a number of proposals on the table at the end of November, but member states did so No deal yet can find it up. The advance of the omikron variant made conversations more difficult.

Italy, Portugal, Greece
A number of countries have already chosen the next flight. ItaliaPortugal and Greece are demanding – at least temporarily – that vaccinated Europeans also provide a negative PCR test before entering the country.

During the debate at the European summit, Prime Minister de Croo on Thursday warned his colleagues not to enforce the rules in an intermittent order. Otherwise, one of the attendees said, Corona’s testimony would be jeopardized. The document is specifically intended to allow safe travel within the European Union, based on the same travel conditions in all countries.


If every country started doing it separately again, we would be further from home. We must adhere to the same approach across Europe.

Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo (Open Vld)

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‘Good European solution’

“With the European testimony of Corona, we have a good European solution that makes it easy and safe for citizens to move within the European Union,” de Croo said, this morning, after a preparatory meeting with his liberal colleagues.

“Let’s try to stick with that European solution as well. If each country started doing it separately again, we would be far from home. We have to focus on the same approach across Europe.”

Do you tighten

Belgium has defended the option of tightening travel conditions, in part due to the standard validity period of the Corona certificate. for nine months. Belgium does not support the mandatory PCR test for travelers from other EU countries, but it does apply to travelers from outside the EU. “The virus is changing and so we have to adapt our devices, including the European Corona certification,” says de Croo. “It’s important to put the booster syringe in there and keep people motivated to take the booster medication.”

European Council President Charles Michel in conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. © AP

A unified approach is elusive at the moment

As expected, European heads of state and government finally failed again at the summit to coordinate the implementation of national travel restrictions, according to the conclusions published afterwards. However, they agree that those national measures should not “disproportionately impede freedom of movement,” she says.

At the end of the discussion, leaders can therefore only conclude that a unified approach will not work for the time being. In the conclusions, they only acknowledge that “continuous coordinated efforts are needed”. At the same time, it must be ensured that “the restrictions are based on objective criteria” and “do not undermine the functioning of the internal market or disproportionately impede freedom of movement between member states or travel to the European Union.”


Heads of government are asking their ministers and diplomats to quickly reach agreement on a revised recommendation made by the European Commission last month to encourage travel in and to the European Union. They also stress the importance of a coordinated approach to the validity of the Corona certificate. The Committee therefore calls for a period of nine months.

Meanwhile, leaders emphasized that vaccination and promotion campaigns are “critical” and “urgent” in Europe in this new phase of the pandemic. They also intend to continue to play a “key role” for immunization on a global scale. They noted that the EU is already the “world’s largest donor and exporter” and will continue these efforts, particularly in Africa.

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