EU countries must allow transport workers to cross their borders, insists European Commission

In the face of declarations from several EU countries that they will be closing their borders during the Covid-19 pandemic, the European Commission is insisting that there must still be cross-border movement of freight on land and at sea to ensure the delivery of essential supplies.

Individual transport workers involved in the supply chain must also be allowed to cross borders if this is necessary for them to reach their place of work, and this includes seafarers and inland waterways crews.

To help ensure these travel rights are upheld, the European Commission has created a template verification certificate for international transport workers which can be issued by their employers. This template is available online as Annex 3 to the Commission’s 23 March 2020 communication document on green lanes at borders of EU member states:

‘Member States are requested to designate immediately all the relevant internal border-crossing points of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) and additional ones to the extent deemed necessary, as “green lane” border crossings – for land (road and rail), sea and air transport.

‘Going through these “green lane” border crossings, including any checks and health screening of transport workers, should not exceed 15 minutes on internal land borders.

‘The “green lane” border crossings should be open to all freight vehicles carrying any type of goods. 

‘Member States should act immediately to temporarily suspend all types of road access restrictions in place in their territory (week-end bans, night bans, sectoral bans, etc.) for road freight transport and for the necessary free movement of transport workers.

‘Transport workers, irrespective of their nationality and place of residence, should be allowed to cross internal borders. Restrictions such as travel restrictions and mandatory quarantine of transport workers, should be waived, without prejudice for competent authorities to take proportionate and specifically adapted measures to minimise the risk of contagion.’

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