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Towards a common EU approach to lifting coronavirus-related restrictions on freedom of movement

Written by Costica Dumbrava,

Map of european countries with coronavirus and quarantine signs.Concept of Coronavirus, COVID-19 and quarantine

© tanaonte / Adobe Stock

In an effort to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, EU Member States started reinstating restrictions on the freedom of movement in October 2020. To prevent a new series of severe and uncoordinated restrictions at countries’ internal borders similar to those of March this year, there have been renewed efforts at the EU level to establish a coordinated approach towards coronavirus-related restrictions on movement.

While the focus is now on the ongoing health crisis, concerns about the functioning of the Schengen area of free movement predate the pandemic. As recent terrorist attacks in Europe remind us, scant progress and unfinished reforms in the area of migration, external borders and security both weaken and threaten to undo the important achievements of Schengen cooperation.

This briefing discusses the key steps taken by the EU to develop a common response to the above challenges and thus to safeguard the Schengen area. It provides an overview of the main restrictions on movement imposed by EU and Schengen countries as of 25 November 2020. Since contact-tracing apps have been promoted as a key tool in combating the pandemic and restoring freedom of movement, this briefing also provides an overview of the existing coronavirus applications in the EU Member States and their interoperability across borders.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Towards a common EU approach to lifting coronavirus-related restrictions on freedom of movement‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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