Blocked supply chains and badly treated essential transport workers, from inside or outside the EU, will hinder Europe’s fight against the pandemic.
EU countries have agreed to tighten travel restrictions as they are facing a third wave of the pandemic with an increase in infections and more virulent strains of the virus. EU governments gathered in the European Council to adopt two recommendations on a coordinated approach to restrictions on the free movement of people and goods within the EU and transport workers coming from outside the EU.
With EU transport workers being recognised as essential workers and not subject to testing or quarantine within the EU, IRU is concerned that the European Council is establishing a double standard for drivers arriving from third countries for whom antigen tests could be requested by EU governments. This will unnecessarily block supply chains and create bottlenecks at external EU borders, such as that between Bulgaria and Turkey.
Green lanes principle confirmed within the EU
IRU is pleased to see that the European Council reinforced in their recommendation the key principle of the green lanes for intra-EU traffic, heeding the call in IRU’s open letter to European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. In principle, transport workers within the EU will not be required to provide negative tests before entering other EU countries or be subject to quarantine upon arrival, in order to keep supply chains moving.