The EU Commission now expects a response within ten working days. In theory, it could initiate legal proceedings against Germany, but this is unlikely due to the ongoing pandemic. Similar letters were sent to Belgium, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, with whose border protection measures the EU Commission also does not agree. At the urging of the EU Commission, the European Ministers of the EU states are discussing the procedure at internal borders this Tuesday.
Seehofer wants to extend
The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Tyrol have been considered areas with particularly dangerous virus mutations in Germany since February 14th. With a few exceptions, entry is therefore prohibited. From the point of view of Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the border controls initially scheduled for ten days should be extended.
The basis of the concerns from Brussels is that the EU states agreed on common recommendations for traveling within the EU a few weeks ago.
The authority is also dissatisfied with the exceptions to the entry ban. For families living across borders, for example, there is no exception. In addition, it seems that members of the EU parliament or members of the government are not allowed to cross Germany to take part in EU meetings.
The recommendations of the EU states, on the other hand, stipulate that transport workers generally do not have to take a test – and if they do, it should be a quick test.
Berlin rejects allegations
The federal government vehemently rejects the EU Commission’s allegations about the tightened entry rules. What has been done is in accordance with the Schengen Agreement, said the Minister of State for Europe in the Foreign Office, Michael Roth, on the sidelines of a video conference with EU colleagues. One adheres to EU law.
The SPD politician emphasized that the decision on this was very difficult for the federal government. “But we have an obligation to deal with a virus mutation in such a way that the protection of our citizens has top priority.”
Minister of State Michael Roth objects to the EU Commission
The Schengen Agreement is actually intended to ensure that the common internal borders of member states can be crossed at any point without personal control. Exceptions are possible in particularly dangerous situations.
Talks about the border with France
The background to the debate is the detection of the virus variant found in South Africa in the French region of Moselle near the border and concerns about spreading to Germany.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert announced “very timely” talks on Monday. In government circles in Berlin it is said that they want to avoid border controls with France like 2020, also because this would have negative political symbolism. On the German side, however, complaints are being made that decisions in the French border region are being made too centralistically in Paris, making cross-border agreements to contain the corona pandemic at local or regional level difficult.
Relaxation on the English Channel
The Ministry of Transport in London had previously announced that the test requirement would remain in place if you continued your journey to Germany, Denmark or the Netherlands.
For many drivers, the measure should mean a significant relief, as they usually drive with freight from the EU to Great Britain, load other goods there and drive back to the continent via France. In view of the mandatory corona tests, a number of companies had initially completely suspended their trips to the kingdom.
France had introduced compulsory testing after the occurrence of the more contagious Corona variant B.1.1.7 became known in Great Britain shortly before Christmas. For days this resulted in queues for miles with thousands of trucks stuck, as all drivers had to be tested for Corona one by one. Some had to spend the Christmas holidays stuck in traffic. Because of the Corona crisis, France closed its borders with countries outside the EU at the end of January. However, there are exceptions for cross-border workers.
kle / rb (dpa, afp, rtr)