N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
The European Commission has formally warned six EU countries that closing their borders undermines free movement within the EU. A letter sent to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary and Sweden highlights the risk of ‘fragmentation and disruptions to free movement and to supply chains’. The Commission is worried the measures go beyond recommendations adopted a few months ago seeking a balance between slowing the spread of the COVID virus and maintaining free movement. The six countries have until next week to respond, failing could start proceedings for breach of EU laws. The Commission’s aim is ‘the preservation of the functioning of the Single Market during a volatile economic period, as well as he protection of family life during a time of significantly reduced social contacts outside the core family’.
It is clear that the fear of the highly contagious COVID-19 variants caused the six memberstates to close their borders. It is quite unbelievable that the Commission dares to threaten these countries with legal proceedings, whilst the same Commission is completely incompetent at coordinating and organising the delivery of enough serum in good time for the EU memberstates. This in sharp contrast with countries such as Israel, the UK and the US.
In the meantime, a growing number of EU countries, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Poland, do not want to wait any longer and are resorting to Chinese, Russian and Israelian vaccines. Probably, for them too a formal warning by the Commission will follow…