EU countries have agreed on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes a colour code for the classifications of regions - green, orange, yellow and grey - based on the epidemiological situation there. They also agreed on common criteria that they should apply when deciding whether to introduce travel restrictions, a common approach for travelers from ‘red areas’ (testing and self-quarantine), as well as on providing more clear and timely information to the public.
This website will gradually provide more information as it becomes available.
Information for travellers from third countries to the EU
The Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. This list will continue to be reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China Hong Kong and Macao, subject to confirmation of reciprocity.
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as EU residents for the purpose of this recommendation.
Source : https://reopen.europa.eu/en
A common approach to travel measures
On 13 October, EU Member States adopted a Council Recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Recommendation is based on the Commission’s proposal adopted on 4 September.
The Recommendation sets out four key areas where Member States will coordinate their efforts:
Factsheet - COVID-19 - A coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement
Temporary Restriction on Non-Essential Travel to the EU
The Council adopted on 30 June, a Recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Travel restrictions should be lifted for countries listed in the recommendation (consult the website). Upon revision by Member States and the Council, this list will be reviewed every two weeks.
Start date: 01.07.2020
Further information: https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronav...
On 17 March 2020, EU Member States agreed on coordinated action at the external borders based on the recommendation by the Commission to restrict non-essential travel for an initial period of 30 days. This was prolonged several times until 30 June 2020.On 11 June 2020, the Commission adopted a Communication which set out an approach to progressively lift the restriction afterwards.
On 25 June, the Commission adopted a draft proposal for a Council Recommendation indicating that travel restriction should be lifted for countries selected together by Member States, on the basis of a set of principles and objective criteria including the health situation, the ability to apply containment measures during travel, and reciprocity considerations, taking into account data from relevant sources such as ECDC and WHO. Based on this approach, the Council adopted on 30 June, a Recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Travel restrictions should be lifted for countries listed in the recommendation. Upon revision by Member States and the Council, this list will be reviewed every two weeks.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the Recommendation, as from 1 July Member States should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as EU residents for the purpose of this recommendation.
While the restrictions on non-essential travel and their lifting depend on the traveller’s place of residence, the visa requirement continues to depend on nationality. If a traveller resides in a country where restrictions have been lifted, but is a national of a visa-required country, he or she must apply at the consulate of the Member State to which he wishes to travel to, in his or her country of residence.
For all other third countries not on this list, Member States and Schengen Associated countries are temporarily suspending all non-essential travel from those third countries to the EU+ area, meaning that only certain categories of travellers could be authorised entry. The “EU+ area” includes 30 countries: 26 out of the 27 EU Member States as well as the four Schengen Associated States: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Ireland does not currently apply the travel restriction.
Travel restrictions aim to reduce the number of travellers entering the European Union. The aim is to restrict the spread of the coronavirus and protect public health within the EU, as well as to prevent the virus from spreading from the EU to other countries.
As the epidemiological situation in and outside the EU evolves and travel restrictions at the EU’s external borders gradually start to be lifted, visa operations will also resume gradually. On 11 June 2020, the Commission published a Guidance for a phased and coordinated resumption of visa operations.
The rules for applying for a short-stay visa remain unchanged. Member States’ consulates and external service providers will, however, have adapted practical aspects of access management, hygiene measures, payment methods etc. Applicants are advised to verify websites for information of the procedure to follow in advance.
Information on travel restrictions in place should be available on the websites of the relevant national authorities (e.g. Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs). A daily summary of flight and passenger restrictions is available on the Eurocontrol website and is entitled ‘Covid Notam (notice to airmen) summary’.
Exemptions from travel restrictions
The following categories of persons are exempt from the temporary travel restriction to the EU+ area from the third countries which are not on the list agreed by the Member States:
(a) Union citizens within the meaning of Article 20(1) TFEU and third-country nationals who, under agreements between the Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and those third countries, on the other hand, enjoy rights of free movement equivalent to those of Union citizens, as well as their respective family members.
(b) third-country nationals who are long-term residents under the Long-term Residence Directive or deriving their right to reside from other EU Directives or national law or who hold national long-term visas, as well as their respective family members.
The temporary travel restrictions should also not apply to people with an essential function or need, including
Temporary travel restrictions should not apply to travel by people with an essential function or need, including seasonal workers in agriculture.
Temporary travel restrictions should not apply to travelling by people with an essential function or need, including healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals.
EU citizens’ family members*
The temporary travel restriction must exempt nationals of all EU Member States and Schengen Associated States, as well as their family members.
*Family members (as defined in Articles 2(2) and 3(2) of Directive 2004/38/EC):
(a) the spouse;
(b) the partner with whom the Union citizen has contracted a registered partnership, on the basis of the legislation of a Member State, if the legislation of the host Member State treats registered partnerships as equivalent to marriage and in accordance with the conditions laid down in the relevant legislation of the host Member State;
(c) the direct descendants who are under the age of 21 or are dependants and those of the spouse or partner as defined in point (b);
(d) the dependent direct relatives in the ascending line and those of the spouse or partner as defined in point (b);
(a) any other family members, irrespective of their nationality, not falling under the definition in point 2 of Article 2 who, in the country from which they have come, are dependants or members of the household of the Union citizen having the primary right of residence, or where serious health grounds strictly require the personal care of the family member by the Union citizen;
(b) the partner with whom the Union citizen has a durable relationship, duly attested.
The temporary travel restrictions should not apply to transport personnel. This category should be interpreted broadly.
Someone claiming asylum
The temporary travel restrictions should not apply to travel by people with an essential need, including persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons.
This new exception covers third-country students starting or continuing their studies in the EU in the academic year 2020/21. A student is defined in Article 3(3) of the EUs Students and Researchers Directive 2016/801 as “a third-country national who has been accepted by a higher education institution and is admitted to the territory of a Member State to pursue as a main activity a full-time course of study leading to a higher education qualification recognised by that Member State, including diplomas, certificates or doctoral degrees in a higher education institution, which may cover a preparatory course prior to such education, in accordance with national law, or compulsory training.”
This new exception covers third-country workers who, because of their high level of skills and knowledge, are needed to contribute to the EU’s post-COVID economic recovery. It may include those whose application for permits under the EUs Blue Card Directive 2009/50, the EU ICT Directive 2014/66, the Directive 2016/801 as Researchers, or under a national scheme for skilled migrants was approved, but who were until now prevented from entering the EU due to the entry ban.
Schengen visa holders currently in the EU
Visa holders present in the Schengen area who cannot leave at the expiry of their short-stay visa must contact the authorities of the Member State in which they are located to ask for an extension of their visa. A visa may generally be extended to allow for a total stay of 90 days in a 180 days period.
Nationals of visa-waived third countries who have remained in the Schengen area beyond the permitted 90-day stay
For nationals of visa-waived third-countries who are compelled to stay beyond the extended 90/180 days, the competent national authorities should extend the validity of the authorisations for legal stay, issue a new one or take other appropriate measures ensuring a continued right to stay on their territory. Information is available on the websites of Member States’ national authorities.
Irish citizens (and residents)
Although Ireland is not part of the Schengen area, all EU citizens and their family members must be exempt from the temporary travel restriction.
United Kingdom citizens
UK nationals are still to be treated in the same way as EU citizens until the end of the Brexit transition period (31.12.2020). Therefore, during that time UK nationals and their family members are exempt from the temporary travel restriction.
Transit through other EU Member States (road transit or transfer at airport)
EU citizens who are returning to their Member State of nationality or residence, as well as their family members, irrespective of their nationality, should be allowed onward transit. Given the reduced availability of commercial flights, ‘onward transit’ should cover any means of transportation.
EU citizens returning to their Member State of nationality or residence from a third country
The temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU do not apply to returning EU citizens and citizens of the Schengen Associated States.
Expired travel documents due to an unexpectedly extended stay abroad
EU citizens and their family members who are not in possession of a valid passport and/or visa should be allowed to enter the EU territory, if they can prove by other means that they are EU citizens or family members of an EU citizen. Possession of an expired passport should be deemed to constitute proof by other means in the current situation. Family members should always be able to prove that they are indeed family members of the EU citizen.
Transit through airports located in an EU Member State or Schengen Associated States
Passengers travelling from a non-EU country to another non-EU country may transit through the international transit area of airports located in the Schengen area. Rules regarding airport transit visa requirements continue to apply.
Temporary Restriction on Non-Essential Travel to the EU (17.03.2020)
EU Leaders agreed to temporary restriction of non-essential travel from third countries into the EU area for 30 days. Any possible prolongation of this period should be assessed depending on further developments. The temporary travel restriction foresees exemptions for nationals of all EU Member States and Schengen Associated States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland; whilst UK nationals are still to be treated in the same way as EU citizens until end 2020), for the purposes of returning to their homes. Exceptions are also foreseen for travellers with an essential function or need.
Start date: 17.03.2020
End date: 30 days from starting date
Further information: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en
The European Commission has confirmed that from 2 February 2022 the new obligation to record manually border crossings, set out in Article 34(7) of the Tachograph Regulation, will also apply to drivers of vehicles equipped with an analogue tachograph. Drivers of vehicles equipped with an analogue tachograph do not need to manually record border crossings until 2 February 2022.
This only applies to the obligation to record border crossings. The European Commission also confirmed that, as of 20 August 2020, drivers of vehicles fitted with analogue tachographs are required to record the symbol of the countries in which the daily working period started and finished.
Source: European Commission
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the functioning of national authorities and the issuing of visas and residence permits has been impacted, resulting in a patchwork of different approaches by EU Member States.
In order to provide more clarity on the different approaches, the European Commission (DG HOME) has recently published an overview of these different national practices regarding the extension of legal stay in the EU Member States as a result of COVID-19.
The document provides the full text of notified information by the Member States, concrete legal impact of the measures, and a list of required documents for third country nationals.
Moreover, the European Commission encourages EU Member States to consult the document and “not to consider as illegal stay in the EU the periods of stay in a Member State covered by the national measures listed therein.”
Please access the document by clicking here.
Source: European Commission
On 8 June, the Official Journal of the EU published a list of Member States that have decided not to apply certain provisions of Regulation (EU) 2020/698, which lays down specific and temporary measures in view of the COVID‐19 outbreak concerning the renewal or extension of certain certificates, licences and authorisations, as well as the postponement of certain periodic checks and training in certain areas of transport legislation.
The Member States involved are as follows:
The above Member States are in addition to those on the list already published last week (France, Finland, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Luxembourg, Austria, Bulgaria, Malta, the Netherlands).
Source: European Commission
On 8 June, the Official Journal of the EU published a list of Member States that decided not to apply certain provisions of Regulation (EU) 2020/698, which lays down specific and temporary measures in view of the COVID‐19 outbreak concerning the renewal or extension of certain certificates, licences and authorisations, and the postponement of certain periodic checks and periodic training in certain areas of transport legislation. Member States involved are as following:
These Member States are added to those whose notification was published on 2 and 3 June: Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Croatia, Lithuania.
Source: European Commission
On 3 June, the Official Journal of the EU published a list of Member States that decided not to apply certain provisions of Regulation (EU) 2020/698, which lays down specific and temporary measures in view of the COVID‐19 outbreak concerning the renewal or extension of certain certificates, licences and authorisations, and the postponement of certain periodic checks and periodic training in certain areas of transport legislation. Member States involved are as following:
Source: European Commission
On 2 June, the Official Journal of the EU published a list of Member States that decided not to apply certain provisions of Regulation (EU) 2020/698, which lays down specific and temporary measures in view of the COVID‐19 outbreak concerning the renewal or extension of certain certificates, licences and authorisations and the postponement of certain periodic checks and periodic training in certain areas of transport legislation. Member States involved are as following:
Source: European Commission
On 27 May, Regulation (EU) 2020/698 was published in the Official Journal of the EU. The Regulation lays down specific and temporary measures concerning the renewal or extension of certain certificates, licences and authorisation and the postponement of certain periodic checks and periodic training in the area of transport legislation. Concerning road transport, the following Regulations and Directives could be subject to temporary changes:
The Regulation enters into force on 4 June 2020. However, Article 3(4), Article 4(6), Article 5(5), Article 7(5), Article 8(5) and Article 11(5) apply from 28 May 2020.
Source: European Union
The European Commission services have updated the information on temporary relaxation of driving time and rest period. More information is also available on the dedicated section of EC website here.
Source: European Commission, DG MOVE
The European Commission services has just disseminated a note, advising EU Member States how to deal with driver cards under the current exceptional COVID-19 circumstances, where delays may be expected in issuing or replacing them.
The EC recognises that the EU legislation, as contained in Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, Directive 2002/15/EC and Regulation (EU) No 165/2014 (Tachograph Regulation), does not contain a legal basis that would empower the Commission to authorise a derogation from the time limits contained in the legislation, to meet exceptional circumstances. However, in its capacity as guardian of the Treaties, the Commission is entitled to take account of exceptional circumstances to which Member States are exposed during the current crisis.
The Commission services suggest, therefore, the below approach, provided that the measures adopted by EU Member States are limited to what is necessary in view of the current crisis, both in terms of substance and in time.
- The national competent authorities should strive to supply a new card as soon as possible after the receipt of a detailed request to that effect. Under this approach, a deadline of 45 days after the receipt of the request could be considered reasonable under the current circumstances.
- National enforcement authorities should take into account the current exceptional circumstances when performing controls of compliance with the Tachograph Regulation, to the extent that the driver has complied with his/her obligations.
Regarding expired cards, the EC proposes the following approach:
- The obligations set out in paragraphs 1 (obligation to apply for renewal 15 working days before the expiry date of the card) and 2 (provisions in case of renewals, in which the Member State of the driver’s normal residence is different from that which issued his/her current card) of Article 28 of the Tachograph Regulation apply. The submission of an online request is recommended and should be always preferred when available.
- Without prejudice to the need for Member States to ensure that the relevant periods and events are properly recorded, the driver should always be in possession of the expired card and present it upon request of the control authorities.
- The driver should keep the proof of the request of replacement of the expired card to the competent national authorities and present it to control authorities upon request.
Source: European Commission
Following many questions relating to issues with customs procedures during the COVID-19 crisis, the European Commission, DG TAXUD, established a webpage with guidance for economic operators regarding several customs issues. This information is regularly updated and therefore, should be consulted on a regular basis.
The guidance includes aspects relating to customs decision-making, customs procedures and formalities. It covers issues on the use of NCTS and TIR, such as:
- Empowerment of customs representatives for e-commerce
- Prioritisation of essential customs decisions
- Flexibility for customs debts and guarantees
- Entry, transit and exit of goods
- Customs and special customs procedures.
Source: European Commission, DG TAXUD
With regards to the various upcoming public holidays, Easter for example, please find below the updated decisions taken by the national authorities for the following countries vis-à-vis road transport activities. Details of the regulations normally applicable by country are available on IRU Information Centre.
· Austria – on 6 April 2020, AISÖ confirmed that in Austria, the weekend and holiday driving ban for trucks over 7.5 tonnes will be suspended until 19 April 2020. However, members should be aware that the sectoral driving bans currently in place in the Tyrol region will remain valid.
· Czech Republic – the applicable driving restrictions on Sundays and Public Holidays are lifted during the period of state emergency.
· France – the applicable driving restrictions on weekends and Public Holidays are lifted until 20 April (further information of the normal applicable bans are available here).
· Germany – the German Federal states’ exemptions on driving bans concern both Sunday and Public Holidays driving bans. The relevant exemptions granted in the Federal States are available here.
· Greece – On 31 March, the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport decided to suspend traffic bans on the movement of trucks from 16 April until 21 April (Orthodox Easter). The suspension will also apply from 30 April until 3 May (weekend of Labour Day).
· Italy - the Italian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure has signed a decree that lifts domestic traffic bans for goods vehicles heavier than 7.5 tonnes from 10 to 14 April. Holiday traffic bans for vehicles carrying out international transport in Italy are also lifted until further notice.
· Portugal – During the Easter period, professional drivers must have a declaration signed by their employer attesting that the driver is performing a transport operation. The declaration aims at preventing the unnecessary movement of people during this Easter period. The form can be downloaded here. The obligation to carry such a document will come into force from 00:00 on 9 April, until 00:00 on 13 April. During this period, the movement of people will only be allowed for professional reasons (freight transport drivers included) or for specific needs (to go to hospital, pharmacies or to buy food).
· Romania – On 4 April, the National Company for Road Infrastructure Administration (CNAIR) lifted driving restrictions on vehicles heavier than 7.5 tonnes on the Ploiesti-Brasov section of DN1 (E60) national road. The measure applies until 16 April. Driving restrictions on the Bucharest-Ploiesti section of DN1 are still in force.
· Spain – The following restrictions are suspended for the entire duration of the state of emergency:
- Week traffic bans for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes
- Weekend and festive bans for ADR vehicles
- Week, festive and weekend bans for abnormal transport
- All traffic bans for transport vehicles in Catalonia and in the Basque Country.
· Slovakia – the Slovak police have lifted driving restrictions for goods vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes on 10, 12 and 13 April (please note there are no driving restrictions in place on Saturday).
Source: IRU members
DG MOVE issues guidance on the renewal of certain licences and certificates for professional carriers in the EU.
Following DG MOVE Director General’s letter to EU Member States requesting them to communicate to the European Commission (EC) services via a single email address, EU-COVID-TRANSPORT@ec.europa.eu, their national measures relative to the COVID-19-related emergency prolongation of the validity of licences and certificates issued to individuals and professional carriers and workers (Flash info published on 27 March) the EC has now published a dedicated Annex, listing these certificates. For road transport, the following main control documents are listed:
· Periodic training of drivers, to obtain their Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC), as provided for in Article 8 of Directive 2003/59/EC;
· Driving licences, regarding therenewal or, in some cases, the exchange of driving licences, according to Article 7 of Directive 2006/126/EC;
· Dangerous goods, covered by Directive 2008/68/EC, including among other things the renewal of driver training certificates for the transport of dangerous goods and the renewal of the dangerous goods safety advisers certificates;
· Inspection of the tachograph, as required by Article 23 of Regulation 165/2014;
· Periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers,as required by Article 5 of Directive 2014/45/EU;
· Renewal of community licences,according to Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 1072/20097 and Article 4 of Regulation 1073/20098;
· Renewal of the authorisation for the provision of regular services by bus and coach,according to Article 9 of Regulation 1073/2009;
· Renewal of the driver attestation,issued according to Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009; and
· Renewal of the certificate of competence for drivers for the transport of live animals, according to Article 17 of Regulation (EC) No 1/20059.
To ensure that national authorities are informed of the exceptional measures taken by other Member States and to practice tolerance, the EC will publish the national information on its coronavirus transport platform at https://ec.europa.eu/transport/coronavirus-response_en.
Source: European Commission
Shipments of waste in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
On 30 March 2020, the European Commission issued some specific guidelines in order to ensure the continuation of national and cross-border waste shipments in the EU. The guidelines indicate that the Green Lanes apply mutatis mutandis to the shipments of waste, and invite Member States to implement this principle.
In addition, a call is made to abandon paper document treatment and to move to digital document exchange, especially in cases of communications relating to notifications of shipments.
Finally, more flexibility is recommended when there are changes in routing which do not involve a Member State that was not included in the original route.
Source: European Commission, DG Environm
On 16 March 2020, the European Commission (EC) adopted a Communication calling for a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU in view of the coronavirus (COVID-19). In order to assist the member states in implementing these new rules, the EC adopted a guidance document last week, providing information on the temporary restriction applying to all non-essential travel to the EU and the effects on visa policy.
The main elements of the guidelines are as follows:
- The introduction of temporary travel restrictions applying to all non-essential travel from third countries to the EU+ area*;
- Minimum service in consulates for processing visa applications;
Dealing with overstay caused by travel restrictions, including persons from visa waived third countries.
The guidance document clearly states that the temporary restriction should not apply to persons with an essential function or need, including transport personnel. Moreover, member states’ consulates (and possibly external service providers) should remain open and accept/deal with visa applications from those travellers who are exempt, including transport personnel. Additionally, the guidance document says that member states should take into account the measures proposed by the EC on the implementation of Green Lanes when deciding on border crossing points.
For a summary of the guidelines per element, please see the document drafted by the IRU secretariat.
Source: European Commission, DG HOME
*The EU+ area is defined by the European Commission as all Schengen member states (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania) as well as the four Schengen associated states (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein).
SURE - a new temporary instrument worth up to €100 billion to help protect jobs and people in work
The European Commission has put forward a new instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE). SURE will provide financial assistance, in the form of loans granted on favourable terms from the EU to member states, of up to €100 billion in total. Its goal would be to complement the efforts made by national authorities to support workers affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the containment measures adopted across the EU. The European Commission's proposal for the SURE instrument will need to be approved by the Council. Its duration and scope are limited to tackling the consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Source: European Commission
European Commission issues guidelines on the exercise of the free movement of workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Further to its communications on border management and Green Lanes, the European Commission has now issued another communication (see text in all EU official languages), clarifying the conditions for the movement of workers (including transport workers) within the European Union during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. These specific guidelines, which cover a wider sector of workers, further clarify and complement the provisions for international transport workers presented in the Green Lanes Communication, and are without prejudice as far as transport workers are concerned. Member states are also invited to treat self-employed persons in one of the critical occupations listed in these guidelines in the same manner.
The listed occupations are as follows:
- Health professionals including paramedical professionals;
- Personal care workers in health services, including care workers for children, persons with disabilities and the elderly;
- Scientists in health-related industries;
- Workers in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry;
- Workers involved in the supply of goods, in particular for the supply chain of medicines, medical supplies, medical devices and personal protective equipment, including their installation and maintenance;
- Information and communication technology professionals;
- Information and communication technicians, as well as other technicians for the essential maintenance of equipment;
- Engineering professionals such as energy technicians, engineers and electrical engineering technicians;
- Persons working on critical or otherwise essential infrastructures;
- Science and engineering associate professionals (including water plant technicians);
- Protective services workers;
- Firefighters, police officers, prison guards, security guards and civil protection personnel;
- Food manufacturing and processing, and related trades and maintenance workers;
- Food (and related products) machine operators (includes food production operators);
- Transport workers (as defined in the green lanes communication and the letter of the DG MOVE Director General – note IRU), in particular:
a) Car, van and motorcycle drivers,heavy truck and bus drivers(includes bus and tram drivers) and ambulance drivers (including those drivers who transport assistance, offered under the Union Civil Protection mechanism as well as those transporting repatriated EU citizens from another member state to their place or origin);
b) Airline pilots;
c) Train drivers, wagon inspectors, maintenance workshop staff as well as the infrastructure managers’ staff, involved in traffic management and capacity allocation;
d) Maritime and inland navigation workers;
- Staff of public institutions, including international organisations in critical functions.
The Commission urges member states to establish specific burden-free, fast procedures for border crossings with a regular flow of frontier and posted workers in order to ensure them a smooth passage. This could be done, for instance and where appropriate, by means of dedicated lanes at the border for such workers, or those with specific stickers recognised by neighbouring member states.
Health screening for frontier and posted workers must be carried out under the same conditions as nationals exercising the same occupations. Health screening can be carried out before or after the border, depending on the available infrastructure, to ensure traffic remains fluid. Member states should coordinate between themselves to carry out health screening on one side of the border only, in order to avoid overlaps and waiting times. Checks and health screening should not require the workers to leave the vehicles, and should in principle be based on electronic body temperature measurement. Temperature checks on workers should not be carried out more than three times in the same day.
For the transport workers referred to in paragraph 19 of the Communication on the implementation of Green Lanes, the specific health screening measures referred to in those guidelines apply.
The Commission urges member states to establish specific procedures to ensure the smooth passage for such workers, as well as use the technical committee on the free movement of workers to identify best practices, that can be extended to all member states in order to allow these workers to exercise their occupations without hindrance.
Source: European Commission
Movement of transport workers in the European Union – clarification on documents needed, to certify international transport activity
In its letter to the EU Member States of 26 March, the DG MOVE Director General clarified the meaning of “transport workers”, which, for the road transport sector, also covers professional drivers carrying out their tasks internationally.
In its Green Lanes Communication (see text in all EU languages) of 23 March, the EC set up the principle of the free movement of transport workers and requested Member States not to subject them to quarantine measures unless they are showing COVID-19 symptoms, as well not to request them to provide a doctor’s certificate or declaration. In their joint statement of 26 March, the EU Heads of States and Governments supported the EC Green Lanes Communication (see item 3), thus making it a joint commitment of all EU Member States.
In Annex 3 of the Green Lanes Communication, the Commission introduced an EU template for a certificate for international transport workers, to be signed by the employer, which certifies that the driver is carrying out professional activities in international transport. This template certificate is recommended for use by truck drivers travelling by other means of transport (such as bus or car, and not their truck), to certify their professional activity; this includes drivers driving LCVs who do not have a C or D licence. Professional drivers carrying out their international transport activities with their truck, do not need to have this certificate.
In summary, the driver’s ID document, its Certificate for Professional Competence (CPC), and the above certificate for international transport workers, as per Annexe 3 of the EC Green Lanes Communication, established and signed by the employer, should be accepted as sufficient proof of professional activities by the control authorities of EU Member States. No additional documents should be requested from professional drivers.
Source: IRU’s own analysis
Green lanes communication supported by EU Heads of States and available in all EU languages
The recent key European Commission communication on green lanes is now available in all EU official languages here.
Please note that in their latest statement (26 March), the EU Heads of States and Governments also expressed their support for green lanes with the following statement: “Where temporary internal border controls have been introduced, we will ensure smooth border management for persons and goods and preserve the functioning of the single market, based on the Commission guidelines of 16 March 2020, in accordance with the Schengen Borders Code, and the Commission's guidance on the implementation of "green lanes".
This confirms that the implementation of green lanes is a joint commitment of all EU Member States.
According to information exchanged among IRU members, the large majority of EU Member States allow double-manning, whereby the multi-manning crew is composed of two drivers (Article 4, paragraph o)) of Regulation 561/2006.
Specific rules are applied in France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal where a social distance of 1 meter must be respected.
In the case of UK, double-manning is not prohibited provided the following conditions are fulfilled:
- Minimise contact with the colleagues and customers. Minimum contact is a combination of time and distance.
- When close contact is not required then you should be separated by at least two meters.
- Regular hand hygiene either using formal hand washing (best) or alcohol gel (good) is important.
- Do not bring hands to face / head (for instance to blow your nose) unless you have just washed / gelled hands.
- Dispose of any tissue used to blow nose and then wash/gel hands prior to any further action.
- If using gloves, change them if physical damage or visible contamination present or if physical damage, or as needed for operator comfort.
- If you use PPE, ensure that it (e.g. gloves and / or aprons) is removed safely when you have finished – this is the most important step – and safely disposed of.
The information on the UK is based on advice valid at the time of writing, but subject to change.
In Finland, double-manning is allowed, provided that the recommended 1-1.5m “social distancing” rule is respected.
However, the Uusimaa region has had special restrictive measures recently introduced and double-manning may be an issue when crossing the Uusimaa regional border. Authorities may not consider the second driver as a necessity, as restrictions on the movement of people crossing the regional border is being strictly enforced.
For the moment, we do not recommend to make use of double-manning in Hungary.
We shall keep monitoring the situation and inform members of any changes.
Source: IRU and exchange with IRU members
On 26 March, DG MOVE Director General, Henrik Hololei, sent a letter to EU Member States requesting them to communicate to the European Commission (EC) services (through a single email address EU-COVID-TRANSPORT@ec.europa.eu) their national measures regarding the COVID-19-related emergency prolongation of the validity of licences and certificates issued to individuals and professional carriers and workers. He also invited national authorities to take this information into account when enforcing the relevant regulatory provisions, in particular regarding professional carriers and workers performing international activities.
The information provided by Member States to the EC, should contain, as a minimum, the following:
- The relevant EU (or national) legislation and specific provision(s)
- A short description of the measure
- The envisaged duration of the extension (date, from-to)
To ensure that national authorities are informed of exceptional measures taken by other Member States, the EC will publish the national information on its Coronavirus transport platform.
Please note that this is a first general statement, to be followed by “specific legal requirements (EU or national) liable to be affected by this situation will be identified and communicated as soon as possible”. DG MOVE services are currently working on this list, including for road transport, and intends to publish it as soon as possible. A dedicated IRU Flash Info will immediately follow.
Source: European Commission
IRU clarifications regarding the exemptions granted by the various EU Member States to driving and rest time rules – Regulation (EC) No 561/2006
A number of EU Member States have granted temporary derogations from driving and rest time rules, pursuant to the provisions of Article 14(2) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006.
The latest official information from the European Commission can be found at its dedicated website at https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/road/social_provisions/driving_time_en, under “COVID-19 - Temporary relaxation of drivers' hours rules”.
Following several discussions among experts and with the services of the European Commission, the following clarifications can be made:
· When these exemptions are granted by EU Member States to international transport (in most cases, but not in all), they apply to all drivers of EU-registered companies on the territory of the given EU Member State;
· Enforcement authorities of the various EU Member States have been and will continue to be informed of the various temporary exemptions introduced by the EU Member States, so that they take them into consideration when controlling drivers at the road side;
· The European Commission services have formally sent the list of exemptions to the UNECE Secretariat, with the objective to inform also the competent authorities of the AETR Contracting Parties, which are not EU Members, about these exemptions, so that they could possibly be taken into consideration, when EU drivers are subsequently controlled on the territories of AETR Contracting Parties, which are not EU Members;
· As a rule, these EU Member States’ exemptions given under the EU Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, are not applicable to drivers from companies registered in AETR Contracting Parties, which are not EU Members. One EU Member State (Poland) has formally and explicitly stated that the exemptions granted on the Polish territory do not apply to drivers from AETR Contracting Parties, which are not EU Members. We therefore strongly recommend to drivers from AETR Contracting Parties, which are not Members of the EU, to respect the AETR Agreement rules.
· In exceptional circumstances of the kind drivers are currently meeting on the road and at borders, and according to the provisions of Article 9 of the AETR Agreement, drivers from AETR Contracting Parties, which are not EU Members, “… may depart from the provisions of this Agreement to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of persons, of the vehicle or of its load. The driver shall indicate the nature of and reason for his departure from those provisions on the record sheet of the control device or in his duty roster.”
· The IRU is in almost permanent contact with the services of the European Commission and the representative organisations of enforcers in Europe, to discuss, give and obtain advice on these issues.
The European Commission services have made available a dedicated COVID-19 Temporary relaxation of drivers' hours rules section on its webpage, offering summary information on the various exemptions introduced by EU Member States on driving and rest time rules. It is expected that this will be regularly updated. The table is available here (under “COVID-19 – Temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours rules).
Source: European Commission