European Union nations set to adopt common travel rules amid COVID-19 pandemic

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union countries are getting ready to adopt a common traffic light system to coordinate traveling across the 27-nation bloc, but a return to a full freedom of movement in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic remains far from reach.

In addition to causing the deaths of at least 151,000 EU citizens and plunging the EU’s economy into recession, the coronavirus has also landed a blow to a cherished cornerstone of EU citizenship, the free movement of people.

When the virus struck in March, several EU countries decided to close their borders to non-citizens without talking to their neighbors, creating huge traffic jams and slowing down the delivery of much-needed medical equipment.

The cacophony, which also played havoc with millions of tourists caught off guard by the virus, prompted the EU’s executive arm to push for a more unified approach. The EU commission last month came up with proposals that have been discussed and amended before their scheduled approval by EU nations on Tuesday.

“This new system will make things easier for citizens. I am glad that we found this solution together,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

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