EU members to adopt travel guidelines as coronavirus spreads

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As cases in Belgium multiply, bars and cafes have been closed in Brussels.

And in Spain, which currently has one of the worst new coronavirus cases in the European Union, the government is considering placing the Madrid region under a state of emergency in response to an increase in cases.

EU institutions have struggled to persuade individual governments to take a common approach, leading to a cacophony of measures that undermine the movement of people for work or family purposes and exacerbate serious losses in the sectors of the economy. tourism and transport.

Health and related policies are entirely sovereign for the countries of the bloc. The union has no legal basis to impose policies on its members, as it does with matters such as monetary affairs or competition.

And when developing national measures for Covid-19 travel, EU members have in some cases taken into account non-health factors, such as maintaining relations with their neighbors and maintaining opening up to major tourist markets.

Hungary, for example, said in September that it would close to travel from all EU countries except its political allies, known as the Visegrad countries, namely Slovakia, the Republic Czech Republic and Poland, without the decision being justified by health criteria.

EU officials called the decision a violation of the principles of free movement of people and non-discrimination within the bloc.

Monika Pronczuk contributed reporting.

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