Free movement within the EU

11-09-2020

The coronavirus outbreak and the measures taken to counter it have had a profound impact on the free movement of people, goods, services and capital in the European Union (the 'four freedoms'). The uncoordinated border restrictions introduced by Member States in the initial phase of their efforts to halt the spread of the virus all but suspended the free movement of people and greatly affected the free movement of goods and services, causing considerable disruption to the European single market. The Union responded to this emergency with a series of immediate measures aimed at limiting the effects of the crisis, preventing shortages of essential goods, and ensuring a coordinated return to normal. The pandemic has exposed pre-existing shortcomings in the implementation of freedom of movement in the EU. It has also highlighted the importance of free movement, necessary for the provision of essential goods, and based on closely integrated supply chains and the key contributions of mobile workers. The immediate measures will need to be backed by more sustained and structural changes to fully 'reboot' free movement in the EU. Improved implementation of free movement will be key to achieving faster and stronger recovery of economies and societies, based on closer European integration and a deeper single market.

The coronavirus outbreak and the measures taken to counter it have had a profound impact on the free movement of people, goods, services and capital in the European Union (the 'four freedoms'). The uncoordinated border restrictions introduced by Member States in the initial phase of their efforts to halt the spread of the virus all but suspended the free movement of people and greatly affected the free movement of goods and services, causing considerable disruption to the European single market. The Union responded to this emergency with a series of immediate measures aimed at limiting the effects of the crisis, preventing shortages of essential goods, and ensuring a coordinated return to normal. The pandemic has exposed pre-existing shortcomings in the implementation of freedom of movement in the EU. It has also highlighted the importance of free movement, necessary for the provision of essential goods, and based on closely integrated supply chains and the key contributions of mobile workers. The immediate measures will need to be backed by more sustained and structural changes to fully 'reboot' free movement in the EU. Improved implementation of free movement will be key to achieving faster and stronger recovery of economies and societies, based on closer European integration and a deeper single market.