Increased controls, not closed borders
Today’s extraordinary summit on the management of the pandemic is crucial to agree a common strategy against the new virus mutations. “The data is very worrying. By mid-February, the British variant could be dominant in several countries in Europe. We have seen in the UK how quickly the situation can become critical. Without a decisive common strategy focused on travel guidelines, standardised testing and an intensified vaccination effort, we are facing a very serious third wave”, said EPP Group Chairman Manfred Weber MEP.
The spread of the so-called British variant has already pushed several Member States to strengthen their protection measures. “The border closures of last year failed to effectively protect us and caused major damage to the economy. We should limit non-essential travel as much as possible, but critical personnel for the healthcare sector or truck drivers transporting goods over borders should be safeguarded at all costs. In order to do this, we call on the Heads of State to agree on a standardised testing regime for crossing borders, particularly from areas most affected by the new variant.”
At the same time, the EPP Group is also calling to prepare for the future, as more and more people are being vaccinated. “The central strategy is and remains that the spread of the virus is slowed down by social distancing measures and that as many people as possible in the EU are now vaccinated as quickly as possible. This should also mean that after people are vaccinated, they need to be able to regain their freedom of movement in Europe. The summit should agree on putting in place a system of vaccination certificates, based on EMA approved vaccines, which are recognised in all Member States and allow you to travel more freely in the EU. This system should be in place as soon as possible.”