EU leaders agreed on Thursday to operate along the same lines with regard to Covid-19 containment measures in an effort to get the market going and also facilitate free movement.
Participating in a video summit, member state leaders said that lifting restrictions should be gradual and regressive. They also agreed to further strengthen coordination against the pandemic and explored ways to develop a unified approach for the use of rapid antigen tests as well as mutual recognition of these tests.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated in the summit and underlined the importance of achieving the best possible coordination between member states in addressing the second wave of the pandemic. He added that Greece, like other countries, is now facing an ever-changing situation.
The Greek PM also noted that Greece was among the first countries in the EU to incorporate rapid testing in its Covid-19 action plan. Referring to the budget, Mitsotakis said measures to support European economies should be extended to cover the first quarter of 2021.
The progress, deployment, national testing strategies and best practices of a Covid-19 vaccine were also on the agenda. In this direction, leaders agreed to speed up preparations of national vaccination plans to ensure vaccines are available and affordable to all EU citizens once authorised.
Another topic touched was the pilot launch of a common EU digital Passenger Locator Form (PLF) as a measure to facilitate safe travel in the EU in the post-Covid-19 era.
The long-term EU budget 2021-2027 and fight against terrorism were also discussed.
On the downside, Hungary and Poland’s decision to block approval of the EU budget and coronavirus rescue package threatens to delay Europe’s economic recovery.
EU leaders will follow up on Covid-19 coordination actions at the European Council meeting next month.
“I’m glad that EU leaders are now meeting regularly to discuss progress made in our common fight against Covid-19,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, adding that the Commission was broadening its vaccines portfolio, with discussions ongoing with Moderna & Novavax.
“We will continue coordinating our efforts to keep citizens informed on vaccination & safe,” she said.