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Coronavirus: what happens next at the EU borders?

March 18, 2020 2:34 PM, Der AUDITOR
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FRANKFURT. At the beginning of the week, the EU Commission published guidelines on the correct behaviour at the European borders. The problem is that the countries decide on measures individually and there is no EU-wide regulation.

While curfews are already in place in countries such as Italy, France and Spain, they are not yet planned in Germany. Here, too, citizens are encouraged to restrict social contacts as far as possible, but no consequences are to be expected in the event of violation. The problem is that although the EU stands for community and cohesion, there are no EU-wide regulations, as these are hardly enforceable. The decision lies with the respective countries. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized, however, that effective containment of the virus is only possible on a Europe-wide level. Currently, discussions are underway with all member states.

Deliveries must remain warranted

The EU Commission is currently focusing on maintaining the trade in goods and services with the least possible disruption. For this reason, all EU countries are urged to install so-called "green lanes" at border checkpoints; these should make it easier for goods traffic to pass through as quickly as possible. Furthermore, there are currently no plans to introduce additional certification for goods delivered within the EU. The reason for this is that the European Food Safety Authority has announced that food and commodities are not a source of transmission of the coronavirus. Jörg Wojahn, representative of the EU Commission in Germany, explained in an interview with the newspaper Sächsische Zeitung that delays within the supply chains, for example due to poorly regulated border controls, can certainly lead to bottlenecks in the food and medical industries. He also criticizes the helplessness of the EU Commission, which can only appeal to the individual countries.

Ministers of Transport are in conversation

Yesterday (18.3.) a video conference between EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean and the transport ministers of all EU countries took place. The aim was to find ways to avoid long waiting times and traffic jams at the borders for goods traffic. One possibility would be to expand the "green lanes" in such a way that "green corridors" are created across several national borders, enabling supply chains to be dealt with quickly.

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