Published On: Wed, Dec 6th, 2023

European Union countries can ban travel from neighbouring states considered ‘high risk’ | World | News


The European Union’s Court of Justice (CJEU) has endorsed the travel restrictions, screening, and quarantine requirements introduced within the Union during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a case involving a travel agency and the Belgian State, the Court determined that, during a pandemic, a Member State is authorised to restrict non-essential travel to other Member States designated as high-health risk quarantine zones.

According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, NORDIC INFO, a tour operator that facilitates trips to Sweden, had reportedly cancelled all flights from Belgium to Sweden for the summer season of 2020. Sweden was placed on Belgium’s red list in July 2020, designating areas with a high risk of COVID-19.

Sweden moved to the orange list on July 15, 2020, indicating that its citizens faced less stringent requirements, such as no mandatory testing or quarantine.

NORDIC INFO claims that Belgium made mistakes in implementing the relevant regulation and is seeking compensation in a Belgian court for damages incurred as a result of the introduction and modification of colour codes.

The matter was referred to the CJEU by the Dutch-speaking Court of First Instance in Brussels, which decided that regulations imposing restrictions on freedom of movement within the European Union can be implemented through a broadly applicable regulation.

The ruling stated: “However, these rules must be reasoned, clear, precise, non-discriminatory and proportionate. They must also be subject to appeal.”

The advocate general in the case noted: “The present case also brings to the fore the eternal issue of the balance that public authorities, in a democratic society, must strike between, on the one hand, the legitimate objective of effectively combating the threats facing society and, on the other hand, the fundamental rights of the persons affected by the measures adopted in that regard.

“While the Court has already had to deal with that issue, particularly in relation to the fight against crime and terrorism, it will have to address it, for the first time, in the context of the threat posed by a pandemic.”



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