“It remains crucial to ensure the proportionality of any measures taken and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in contact with the Portuguese authorities. There will certainly be a need for an assessment of the measures in the very near future”, indicates a written response sent to Lusa, from the spokesperson for the community executive for the area of Justice, Christian Wigand.
The reaction comes after the Portuguese Government announced the imposition of a test on all citizens arriving in the national territory, despite the fact that the regulation of the EU's Covid-19 Digital Certificate does not provide for additional measures for those who have the valid document, as vaccinated or recovered from the disease.
“Given the current unclear and evolving situation with the new variant [Omicron], we understand that the measures notified by Portugal are a means of precaution”, adds Christian Wigand.
According to the European Commission, Portugal was, until the beginning of this week, the only member state that required additional measures for passengers with a valid EU Covid-19 Digital Certificate, after having also been the country that promoted the signing of the regulation about this free transit for free movement in the community space, during the Portuguese presidency of the Union, in the first semester of this year.
However, the community executive was informed by Ireland of the imposition of “pre-departure tests for all travellers arriving during a period of two weeks, starting on December 3”.
In response to Lusa, the spokesperson recalls that the regulation of the Covid-19 Digital Certificate provides that “Member States refrain from imposing additional restrictions on certificate holders, unless they are necessary and proportionate to safeguard public health in response to the pandemic”.
“When Member States decide to impose additional restrictions, for example due to a new variant of concern, they must inform the Commission and other Member States 48 hours in advance”, he said, speaking of the need to “preserve a coordinated approach” .
In a recommendation released last week, the European Commission suggested a “person-based approach”, providing that anyone who has “a valid EU Covid-19 Digital Certificate will not, in principle, be subject to additional restrictions such as testing or quarantine, regardless of their place of departure” in the Union.
For its part, "people without an EU Covid-19 Digital Certificate may be required to take a test carried out before or after arrival", the institution proposed to the Member States, which make the final decision on travel.