EU summit on Corona: probably new requirements for travelers

Status: 16.12.2021 6:40 p.m.

The conflict in Ukraine, the energy crisis and, of course, Corona: the first EU summit for Chancellor Scholz is about pressing issues. And the negotiations are likely to be tough. Unity is emerging in the fight against the pandemic.

The heads of state and government of the EU have been meeting in Brussels since the afternoon – and little has yet got outside. However, there is enough to talk about: How do we react to Russia, which despite international criticism is gathering troops on the border with Ukraine. What will happen next with the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is supposed to carry Russian gas to Germany and the EU? The Eastern European countries in particular are calling for the project to be stopped – for fear of becoming dependent on Russia. This is followed by the question of how the community intends to react to the massively rising energy prices.

Travel could get more complicated

And then of course there is the corona pandemic and the question of how united the EU can and wants to fight the rapid spread of the omicron variant. In the evening, the first compromise lines emerged on the question, which could make traveling in Europe more complicated again: The summit participants did not rule out further requirements of the member states such as compulsory testing for vaccinated persons. The Corona certificate, which has made traveling in the EU much easier as proof of recovery, a test or a vaccination, could lose its status as a result. However, this is already limited, because countries such as Italy, Portugal or Greece require a negative PCR test in addition to the digital vaccination certificate when entering the country.

EU heads of state and government advise on the corona situation and how to deal with Russia

Roman Rusch, ARD Brussels, Tagesschau 4:00 p.m., December 16, 2021

Warning to Moscow

For the new Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, it is the first EU summit in this role – therefore, the partners should pay particular attention to the tone of the head of government of the important Germany. Before the meeting, Scholz had already stated, with a view to the Ukraine crisis, “that the invulnerability of the borders is one of the most important foundations of peace in Europe and that we will do everything together to ensure that this invulnerability remains”.

Scholz and his EU colleagues wanted to send a clear message to Russia at their meeting. The draft final declaration stated that the country urgently needed to defuse tensions. Any further military aggression against Ukraine will have “massive consequences and high costs”: Specifically, there is talk of severe economic sanctions and the fact that Russia could be cut off from the international financial market.

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