EU Commission threatens six member states with legal action unless they open their borders immediately

The European Commission has threatened six member states with legal action unless they open their borders immediately.

The Commission has sent warning letters to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary and Sweden, putting them on notice that they must lift Covid-19 border restrictions and stop curbing free movement within the bloc.

The member states in question have ten days to respond to the Commission’s complaint, with the EU executive not ruling out legal action if national governments do not comply.

A commission spokesman said: “In the letters, we underline the need for free movement restrictions to be non-discriminatory and proportionate.

“We urge member states to align their provisions more closely with the Council recommendations that we have jointly agreed and review rules on free movement.

“We trust that we will find solutions with member states concerns without having to revert to legal steps, which can be lengthy.”

Many states have taken unilateral action in an attempt to halt the spread of Covid-19, including the implementation of entry and exit bans which Brussels believes infringes on the Single Market principles of free movement of goods and people.

Germany for example has implemented strict border controls on its border with the Austrian region of Tyrol after a breakout of the South African Covid-19 mutation in the region.

The Germans have also imposed restrictions at their borders with Czechia and Slovakia.

Although there is concern in the German press that even with restrictions in place and a requirement for lorry drivers to disclose a negative coronavirus test from the last 48 hours before entry, the backlog at checkpoints has been so great that truckers have simply been waved through.

German interior minister Horst Seehofer recently hit back at Brussels’ complaints over how the national government chose to protect its citizens telling the BILD tabloid: “We are fighting the mutated virus on the border with the Czech Republic and Austria.

“The EU Commission should support us and not put spokes in our wheels with cheap advice.”

The nation’s Europe minister, Michael Roth, also took aim at Brussels refuting claims the country wasn’t complying with EU law. He said that while he acknowledges the measures imposed “put a massive strain on border regions, commuters and the transport of goods and the single market… the protection of our citizens is paramount.”

A spokesperson for the European Commission: “Member states have now 10 days to reply and we will then take it from there.”