EU Commission demands explanation from Germany on Covid entry bans
Germany is under pressure to explain its entry bans targeting the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Austrian state of Tyrol, after the European Commission complained in a letter that the measures were disproportionate and unjustified.
"We believe that the objective justifiably pursued by Germany – the protection of public health during a pandemic – could be attained by less restrictive measures," the European Union's executive body wrote to Germany's ambassador to the bloc, Michael Clauss.
The letter, dated Monday and seen by dpa, gives Germany 10 days to respond.
In theory, the dispute could lead to legal action against the member state, although this is considered unlikely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Similar letters have been sent to Belgium, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, whose border restrictions have been met with disapproval in Brussels.
At the commission's request, the member states' ministers for European affairs are holding a conference on Tuesday to discuss border measures.
The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Tyrol were added to Germany's list of "areas of variant of concern" on February 14, banning the vast majority of people from there from entering Germany, with few exceptions, for example for truck drivers.
The measures recently led to travel chaos on Czech motorways leading up to the German border, as authorities struggled to ensure all hauliers had the required coronavirus test certificate.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has previously rejected the commission's criticism of the border restrictions.
Brussels is pushing for EU nations to stick to a framework for travel within the bloc agreed just a few weeks ago.