EU countries must stop ‘going their own way’ on travel rules

European governments are being urged by aviation organisations to lift all travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers, as a new EU-wide travel regime comes into force from Tuesday (1 February).

ACI Europe (Airports Council International) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said those holding a valid Covid-19 vaccination certificate should not face any restrictions when travelling within the EU.

Although a new travel regime has been adopted by the EU Council based on travellers’ health status – rather than the Covid situation in the country or region they are travelling from – member states can still decide on their own entry policies and restrictions.

“Specifically, we call upon the governments of Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Malta to address this issue as a matter of urgency and abandon unnecessary and damaging restrictions,” said the two organisations.

They also revealed research showing the “inefficiency of recent travel restrictions” in stopping the spread of Covid-19 around the continent. This study focused on the way Finland and Italy have used travel policies to try to mitigate Covid outbreaks.

The study found that even if countries had imposed travel restrictions on the day Omicron was first identified as a variant in November 2021, it would not have stopped or significantly limited the variant’s spread in Italy and Finland.

“This latest research should give governments confidence to implement the EU recommendation in full, enabling Europe to get moving again.”

“Under these new EU rules for intra-EU travel, member states must accept any vaccination certificate that has been issued less than nine months since the administration of the last dose of the primary vaccination,” explained the European Commission.


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