calls on EU Member States to rapidly implement the Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (2020/1475), and welcomes the European Commission’s Communication on additional COVID-19 response measures (COM(2020) 687). In a Statement published today, CoESS calls on Member States to urgently step up efforts for the coordination of travel restrictions.
Free movement is a key pillar of the European identity and economy, enshrined in Art. 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). For months, it has been severely limited due the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions introduced by EU Member States.
Protecting the health of European citizens must always be the guiding principle, but the patchwork of travel restrictions, risk assessment approaches, testing and quarantine policies across the EU remains unsustainable. It prevents citizens’ trust in, and reestablishment of, free movement as well as recovery in cross-border transport. CoESS warns that the economic consequences are alarming, particularly in the aviation sector. The long-term sustainability of the European air transport system, and its ecosystem of which private security is an intrinsic part, is at risk, as assessed also in detail in the recent CoESS White Paper "The New Normal 2.0: Private Security and COVID-19 in Europe".
CoESS believes that the actions proposed in the European Commission’s Communication on Building a European Health Union (COM(2020) 724) will help improve the coordination of prevention and response measures to cross-border health threats across Europe in the long-term future.
But in the meantime, CoESS reminds that urgent action is needed now to deal with the ongoing pandemic and to improve coordination and information sharing in support of common risk assessment and travel restriction approaches; effective testing and tracing frameworks; a common approach towards quarantine policies; and forward-looking vaccination strategies across the EU.
Otherwise, CoESS fears that EU Member States will be ill-prepared for the months to come and additional waves of infections, which could have irrevocable, disastrous consequences for the European transport ecosystem.
Read the full statement here.