Borders in the Schengen area will continue to remain open, but European Union leaders are demanding that travel must be reduced as much as possible, Euronews reports. The main purpose is to control the spread of the virus without having to suspend the Schengen movement rules.
In places assessed as COVID-19 hotspots, passengers will be required to perform a PCR test and will also be quarantined as a necessary measure.
"In this really serious health situation, all non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged both inside the country and abroad. At the same time it is very important that the common market continues to work. So essential commodity workers need to cross borders without a problem. It is of great importance. In relation to external borders, we will propose increased security measures," said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.
Another important issue discussed by EU leaders was the vaccination strategy, which has increased concerns to pharmaceutical companies about delays in distribution.
"Leaders want the vaccination to be speeded up, and in this regard, commitments to deliveries made by companies must be respected. Leaders reconfirmed that vaccines should be distributed at the same time and should be population-based. And we reaffirmed the need to have a close monitoring of the vaccination process. All possible means will be considered to ensure prompt delivery, including early delivery to avoid delays," said Charles Michel, President of the European Council.
The most divisive proposal at the EU summit came from a small group of countries: they require a fast travel system for those who are vaccinated. This, according to them, can accelerate the economic recovery. Critics argue that it can cause discrimination.