EU Commission urges Ireland to reconsider hotel quarantine

Brussels — The European Commission called on Friday to pursue less restrictive measures than the mandatory hotel quarantine regime introduced in Ireland last month, explaining why some EU member states were subject to the regulation. I asked.

Ireland is the only country in the EU’s 27 countries that forces arrivals from certain countries to pay quarantine for up to 14 days at secure hotels, each of which costs about € 2,000, and this week Belgium , France, Italy and Luxembourg have been added to the designated list. Initially, Austria was also included.

EU executives wrote to the Irish government on Friday in connection with the criteria used to determine the list, a spokeswoman said.

“The European Commission is concerned about this measure in relation to the general principles of EU law, especially proportionality and indiscrimination,” said a spokesman.

“The Commission believes that Ireland’s pursuit of protecting public health during a pandemic can be achieved with less restrictive measures.”

He added that exemptions are also needed for essential travel.

The European Commission sent a similar administrative letter to six other EU countries in March asking about travel restrictions related to COVID-19, but the infringement process against Member States on this issue has not yet begun.

Dublin states that keeping new COVID-19 mutants abroad rather than a high rate of illness is the main criterion for adding a country to the list. The Italian ambassador to Ireland also criticized the administration this week.

Prior to last week’s decision, ministers flagged that the inclusion of fellow member states could lead to issues regarding EU rules of freedom of movement.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly “disagrees” with the Commission when he tells Ireland that such measures cannot be taken against countries identified as having concerns about a variant of COVID-19. “.

“I have taken the steps we believe in to the Commission, the Italian Ambassador, or anyone else, and believe that our public health team is the right step to keep people safe. I don’t apologize for that, “Donnelly told RTE Television.

“We are a mile ahead of Europe in terms of the biosecurity measures we are currently implementing. That is something we are very proud of and what people want.”

By Phil Blenkinsop

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