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ROUNDUP 2 / Scholz ‘first EU summit: Travel could get more complicated

Thursday, 12/16/2021 4:48 PM from

dpa-AFX

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Olaf Scholz (SPD). pixabay.com

(new: more details, updated.)

BRUSSELS (dpa-AFX) – Traveling in Europe could become more complicated in view of the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. An EU summit in Brussels did not rule out further requirements by the member states such as compulsory testing for vaccinated people on Thursday. It was simply agreed that restrictions should not undermine the functioning of the internal market and should not “disproportionately” impede freedom of movement within and into the EU.

“Further coordinated efforts” are necessary in order to react on the basis of scientific data, it said in the final declaration. Basically, travel regulations are in the competence of the individual EU states.

The one-day meeting in Brussels was the first EU summit of the new Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). Several heads of state and government expressed their disapproval with a view to additional testing requirements for vaccinated persons. But countries like Italy have long since pushed ahead. A regular patchwork quilt threatens again.

The flagship project Corona Certificate, which has made traveling in the EU much easier as proof of recovery, a test or a vaccination, could lose its status. The summit declaration said that a coordinated approach should be taken with a view to the validity of the certificates. The EU Commission should present a proposal as soon as possible.

The Berlin Court of Appeal had imposed life imprisonment for the shooting of a Georgian in August 2019 in the Kleiner Tiergarten park in Berlin. The verdict speaks of “state terrorism”: The judges are convinced that the now 56-year-old perpetrator acted on behalf of Russian state agencies. Russia rejects all such allegations. As a consequence, the Foreign Office declared two diplomats from the Russian embassy in Berlin to be “undesirable persons”.

In view of the Russian troop deployment on the Ukrainian border, Scholz emphasized again that the inviolability of the borders “is one of the most important foundations of peace in Europe”. One will “do everything to ensure that this invulnerability actually remains”.

Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda warned in drastic words that the situation was probably the most dangerous in 30 years. Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said that in the event of aggression from Moscow, the suspension of the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline should be “on the table”. Bettel, on the other hand, spoke out in favor of a dialogue with Moscow.

The heads of state and government 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 would have “massive consequences and high costs” ./wim/DP/men

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