The queue of people at the Czech motorway service station Rozvadov is likely to be around a hundred meters long.
It is the night from Monday to Tuesday, and truckers in Rozvadov are waiting for their corona test in front of a hastily built test center. So that they can finally get into Germany. Unless they get stuck in a traffic jam at the border.
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The order from Friday caught many truck drivers off guard. You have long been on the road – and now you have to find a test at short notice.
The re is chaos: not just at the borders with Germany, but well in front of it. Because now Austria and the Czech Republic are also restricting transit traffic in order not to let the backlogs get out of hand. In part, they in turn require current corona tests. And so photos from Sterzing, Italy, on the Brenner autobahn, show hundreds of truckers huddled in front of a test center.
SPIEGEL: Mr Mädge, Germany has drastically tightened the entry requirements for trucks. How do you like that?
Matthias Maiden: We are deeply disappointed and angry. On Friday, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen replied in writing that she wanted to leave the borders open for freight traffic. But then a one-sided and thoughtless, stupid decision on the German side led to chaos.
The German government did not prepare this action; no help comes from her. We receive messages every minute from drivers who are standing in traffic jams that run for miles or queues for hours in front of corona test centers.
The se people are left hanging.
The drivers are isolated in their vehicles; and they themselves often have nothing to do with loading or unloading. If someone is not a source of risk, it is the truck driver. Our industry supports measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. But if hundreds of drivers have to stand shoulder to shoulder in front of test centers at the borders, then that is dangerous. And on top of that, an unworthy treatment of these people.
The temperatures are below zero and we let the drivers stay out in the cold for hours. Don’t forget: it’s the trucks that ensure our supplies of food and other essential goods.
The automobile association VDA is already warning of factory closures due to lack of deliveries.
SPIEGEL: That sounds a bit like scare tactics. So far there has been little to see of empty supermarket shelves.
SPIEGEL: Who are you hoping for help from?
Girl: Especially from Brussels. A few months ago, the EU states including Germany agreed to give priority to freight traffic in the pandemic in order to secure supplies. How can it be that now individual members go it alone?
The safest solution for everyone is that drivers can do their job and cross the border unhindered. Now the EU can show what it’s good for.
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Border controls truck drivers Czech Republic Germany world association warns empty shelves