Could the EU move any slower?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

No-one doubts that the international travel industry is on its knees. No-one should be in  any doubt that holidaymakers and travellers are confused about what they can and cannot do, about what awaits them when they return from a destination to their home country and what can alter when they are away.

How long will it take for the EU to adopt a common policy?

Governments have been so concerned by responding to crisis after crisis rather than planning a future that they might not have much of a travel and tourism industry the other side of the pandemic.

But one body, the EU, is planning something.

The trouble is that it is planning to launch a common EU digital Passenger Locator Form (PLF) as one of its measures to facilitate safe travel in post-pandemic times. That may be well and good but what the travel industry, holidaymakers and travellers want is some common action now. That time could be another six months, twelve months or even further away.

A pilot is due to start this month probably based on the Greek form which was the first EU country to launch such a scheme. Then when the pilot has been conducted, there will be an analysis, someone will write recommendations and then it will be submitted to the correct office in the EU which will ask for comments and then finally propose something after comments have been received which will be considered by the parliament.

I could be an old man before a common policy is in operation!

Like every other country and region, the EU has had months to consider these problems and only now is it considering action.

It also wants all member states to implement the recommendation made in mid-October that there be a “common and coordinated approach to restrictions to free movement.” That seems unlikely in the next few months as states introduce border restrictions to try and stem movement in order to contain the virus.

Even more of value to all of us is the aim to develop and implement a common testing procedure so that we can go from one place to another in EU countries without having to re-test every other day. Different agencies are talking but no resolution has been reached over whether a PCB test will be standard, an antigen one or something that is in development.

The EU wants a common approach to quarantine practices and these thoughts will be sent to the commission by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control this month. Given that different states in Germany have clashed with federal government suggestions what chance is there for unity amongst nations at least in the next few months?

The Commission will work with member states and agencies on a common approach to quarantine practices, with inputs from ECDC to be presented in November.

There are other aims but the ones I have mentioned will be the ones most likely to rejuvenate travel.

For Britons the big question is not how long it might take to implement these plans when agreed but whether, having left the EU, the UK government will align itself with EU policies so that it’s residents can travel freely or whether we will face a separate set of rules.  

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