In the event of a pandemic, a Member State can ban non-essential travel to other Member States if they are in high-risk areas. The European Court of Justice said this in a new judgment on Tuesday. The Member State may also require people entering its territory to take screening tests and go into quarantine. However, those rules must be reasoned, clear, precise, non-discriminatory and proportionate, the Court says.
Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 11:31 AM
Our country banned non-essential travel to red zones during the corona pandemic in 2020. In addition, anyone entering Belgium from one of those countries had to take a screening test and go into quarantine. In July of that year, Sweden itself briefly classified our country as a red zone.
Nordic Info, a travel agency specialized in travel in Scandinavia, subsequently canceled all planned trips between Belgium and Sweden and subsequently requested compensation for the damage caused. A Belgian court then asked the European Court of Justice whether Union law precludes the Belgian scheme.
This now means that our country, and every European member state, was allowed to impose a ban on non-essential travel to red zones at that time. The screening tests and quarantine were also justified. But, the Court also says, such a scheme must also be motivated and contain clear and precise regulations. It must also be non-discriminatory and capable of being challenged by appeal. Such restrictions on free movement must also be in accordance with the principle of proportionality, the Court added.