Written by Ariane Debyser,
One of the first, and most visible impacts of the Covid-19 crisis was on transport, travel and mobility. In early March 2020, European Union (EU) Member States had already reintroduced border controls at internal Schengen borders on the grounds of an immediate threat to public policy and on 17 March 2020, the Heads of State or Government agreed to reinforce the external borders by applying a coordinated temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU. Travel restrictions and containment measures adopted to limit the spread of the disease, within and at the external border of the EU, have led to drastic reductions in traffic in all transport modes.
In a communication on the coordinated economic response to Covid-19 published on 13 March 2020, the European Commission underlined that the pandemic is having a major impact on transport systems and that disruption in the flow of goods leads to severe economic damage. The Commission mentioned that, in addition to the coordination and guidance efforts and the actions to limit the spread of the virus, it would act to tackle and mitigate the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, which are exceptionally strong in the key areas of transport, travel and tourism.
The Commission has already adopted measures on mobility and transport and is working with Member States to stop the spread of the disease; ensure essential goods and services such as food, medicines and protective equipment circulate freely in the internal market; and to guarantee the free movement of workers, especially those that exercise critical occupations such as health professionals and transport workers. To tackle the risk of serious economic downturn, the Commission has adopted a temporary framework for State aid measures that allows EU countries to provide assistance to companies. Some sector specific measures have already been approved, including on transport.
Read the complete Briefing on ‘Mobility, transport and coronavirus‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.