According to EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, “Blanket travel bans should not prevent thousands of EU and UK citizens from returning to their homes.” He also added that, “Given the current uncertainties and in light of the precautionary principle, Member States should take coordinated action to discourage non-essential travel between the UK and the EU.”
It seems that the European Commission has changed its approach in relation to travel bans, if compared to the first wave, when it was very reluctant to recommend any travel restrictions.
This time, EU and UK citizens travelling to their country of residence should be exempted from further temporary restrictions if they are able to present a negative Covid-19 test or undergo a quarantine.
According to the new recommendation, people with an essential reason to travel should be required to undergo a RT-PCR test or a rapid antigen test within 72 hours prior to departure, but should not be asked to quarantine while exercising this essential function.
In 2021, the UK will exit the European Union and only essential travel may then take place from the UK, unless the Council decides otherwise.
The new Covid-19 variant discovered in the UK led many countries to ban passenger and freight traffic from the UK, in an attempt to prevent its spread. However, the European Commission asked countries to implement coordinated measures for “citizens and residents returning home and other essential travelers.”
On December 21 and 22, Belgium imposed an entry ban for people coming from the UK by train, plane or boat, but still allowed freight traffic. However, from December 23, Belgian citizens, people who have their main residence in Belgium, travelers in transit, and people on a “strictly necessary non-postponable journey” are allowed to enter from the UK again.