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Tracking key coronavirus restrictions on movement and social life in the EU Member States

17-07-2020

All the EU Member States adopted emergency measures in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. These measures restricted a number of fundamental freedoms, including movement across and within national borders, access to education, freedom of association and, more broadly, freedom to engage in social and economic activities. Following a decrease in the number of coronavirus cases, most Member States have gradually begun to lift or ease these restrictions. This briefing presents an overview ...

All the EU Member States adopted emergency measures in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. These measures restricted a number of fundamental freedoms, including movement across and within national borders, access to education, freedom of association and, more broadly, freedom to engage in social and economic activities. Following a decrease in the number of coronavirus cases, most Member States have gradually begun to lift or ease these restrictions. This briefing presents an overview of 10 key measures taken by the Member States in response to the pandemic. They relate to cross-border travel (controls at internal EU borders, entry bans affecting EU and non-EU citizens, and exit bans); movement and association (restrictions of movement in the country and bans on social gatherings); education and social activities (closure of educational institutions, shops and restaurants); and contact tracing. This briefing tracks these key measures from 1 March to 30 June 2020 and presents their evolution in relation to the general evolution of the pandemic in each Member State, represented by the cumulative number of reported Covid-19 cases per 100 000 population in the previous 14 days.

Lifting coronavirus restrictions: The role of therapeutics, testing, and contact-tracing apps

16-07-2020

In the absence of vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, any easing of restrictions to freedom of movement and social life needs to be accompanied by enhanced monitoring measures, such as expanded testing capacity and improved contact tracing, including use of appropriate digital technologies. There are very few certainties about the coronavirus pandemic, but perhaps one is that no isolated measure or silver-bullet solution is likely to solve all aspects of the crisis. A flexible and integrated strategy ...

In the absence of vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, any easing of restrictions to freedom of movement and social life needs to be accompanied by enhanced monitoring measures, such as expanded testing capacity and improved contact tracing, including use of appropriate digital technologies. There are very few certainties about the coronavirus pandemic, but perhaps one is that no isolated measure or silver-bullet solution is likely to solve all aspects of the crisis. A flexible and integrated strategy, based on complementary tools and measures (therapeutics, testing and contact tracing) and a coordinated approach across the EU are key to gradually lifting restrictions and to going back to the (new) normal.

States of emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis: Situation in certain Member States II

13-05-2020

Member States have adopted a range of emergency measures in response to the unprecedented public health crises generated by the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas not all Member States dispose of constitutional mechanisms to enable the declaration of a 'state of emergency', all have taken exceptional and far-reaching emergency measures that affect citizens' rights and freedoms as well as democratic processes. These institutional changes and the restrictions imposed on citizens' lives pose significant ...

Member States have adopted a range of emergency measures in response to the unprecedented public health crises generated by the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas not all Member States dispose of constitutional mechanisms to enable the declaration of a 'state of emergency', all have taken exceptional and far-reaching emergency measures that affect citizens' rights and freedoms as well as democratic processes. These institutional changes and the restrictions imposed on citizens' lives pose significant institutional and democratic challenges. Given their impact on fundamental rights and freedoms and on the normal functioning of democracy, emergency measures need to be carefully examined, matched with adequate legal safeguards, and subject to close democratic scrutiny. This is particularly true in the context of rapid changes of circumstances and in view of new evidence about the evolution of the crisis and its implications. This briefing covers the following countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Malta, Austria, Romania, and Slovenia. It focuses on three key aspects: i) the constitutional framework of the state emergency or legitimation of the emergency legislation; ii) the concrete measures adopted; and iii) the extent of parliamentary oversight exercised on the adopted measures. This briefing is the second in a series aimed at providing a comparative overview of Member States' institutional responses to the coronavirus crisis. The first in the series covered an initial set of seven Member States.

The impact of coronavirus on Schengen borders

27-04-2020

The 26 countries of the Schengen Area are only meant to reintroduce border controls between themselves in specific circumstances, and for strictly limited periods of time. In recent weeks, many of the Schengen states have reintroduced border controls, notifying them to the European Commission on the grounds of an immediate threat to public policy as a result of the spread of coronavirus. This infographic shows the latest situation in respect of border controls put in place at internal borders within ...

The 26 countries of the Schengen Area are only meant to reintroduce border controls between themselves in specific circumstances, and for strictly limited periods of time. In recent weeks, many of the Schengen states have reintroduced border controls, notifying them to the European Commission on the grounds of an immediate threat to public policy as a result of the spread of coronavirus. This infographic shows the latest situation in respect of border controls put in place at internal borders within the Schengen Area. This is an update of a briefing published in March 2020.

Tracking mobile devices to fight coronavirus

20-04-2020

Governments around the world have turned to digital technologies to tackle the coronavirus crisis. One of the key measures has been to use mobile devices to monitor populations and track individuals who are infected or at risk. About half of the EU’s Member States have taken location-tracking measures in response to the spread of the coronavirus disease, mainly by working with telecommunications companies to map population movements using anonymised and aggregate location data and by developing applications ...

Governments around the world have turned to digital technologies to tackle the coronavirus crisis. One of the key measures has been to use mobile devices to monitor populations and track individuals who are infected or at risk. About half of the EU’s Member States have taken location-tracking measures in response to the spread of the coronavirus disease, mainly by working with telecommunications companies to map population movements using anonymised and aggregate location data and by developing applications (apps) for tracking people who are at risk. The European Commission has called for a common EU approach to the use of mobile apps and mobile data to assess social distancing measures, support contact-tracing efforts, and contribute to limiting the spread of the virus. While governments may be justified in limiting certain fundamental rights and freedoms in order to take effective steps to fight the epidemic, such exceptional and temporary measures need to comply with applicable fundamental rights standards and EU rules on data protection and privacy. This briefing discusses location-tracking measures using mobile devices in the context of the Covid 19 crisis. It describes initiatives in EU Member States and provides a brief analysis of fundamental rights standards and the EU policy framework, including applicable EU rules on data protection and privacy.

Temporary border controls in the Schengen area

16-03-2020

Free movement across internal borders is one of the EU's most important achievements, with important benefits for EU citizens. The Schengen Borders Code (or Schengen Code) specifies the conditions under which Member States can introduce temporary checks at their internal borders in cases of serious threats to public policy or internal security. The Code was revised in 2017 in order to strengthen the EU's external borders and to help cope with unprecedented migratory pressure and cross-border security ...

Free movement across internal borders is one of the EU's most important achievements, with important benefits for EU citizens. The Schengen Borders Code (or Schengen Code) specifies the conditions under which Member States can introduce temporary checks at their internal borders in cases of serious threats to public policy or internal security. The Code was revised in 2017 in order to strengthen the EU's external borders and to help cope with unprecedented migratory pressure and cross-border security threats. A Commission legislative proposal to further update the Schengen Code in order to tighten up the rules on temporary border controls is currently with the co-legislators. The recent coronavirus outbreak has pushed several Member States to reintroduce border controls at some of the EU's internal borders in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.

Acquisition and loss of citizenship in EU Member States: Key trends and issues

09-07-2018

Access to citizenship status is an important prerequisite for enjoying rights and privileges, such as migration and political rights, as well as for developing a sense of identity and belonging. Since the establishment of Union citizenship, all persons who are nationals or citizens of an EU Member State enjoy the status of EU citizenship, which confers on them a number of additional rights and privileges. However, Member States retain full control over who can be recognised as a citizen. Although ...

Access to citizenship status is an important prerequisite for enjoying rights and privileges, such as migration and political rights, as well as for developing a sense of identity and belonging. Since the establishment of Union citizenship, all persons who are nationals or citizens of an EU Member State enjoy the status of EU citizenship, which confers on them a number of additional rights and privileges. However, Member States retain full control over who can be recognised as a citizen. Although the legal rules on the acquisition and loss of citizenship in the EU Member States remain fairly divergent, one can identify a number of key trends and issues. The need to integrate long-term immigrants has pushed EU countries to amend their citizenship laws. This often resulted in making citizenship both more liberal (lowering residence requirements and tolerating dual citizenship) and more restrictive (introducing integration clauses and citizenship tests). The surge in terrorist activities in the EU, which involve citizens, prompted several Member States to revise or reactivate citizenship provisions allowing for citizenship to be revoked. Concerns about immigrants' integration, allegiance and belonging, as well as about the cultural and economic consequences of regional integration and globalisation are at the heart of recent debates about citizenship in Europe. As the Maltese case of investor citizenship shows, the issue of access to citizenship is no longer a matter that concerns Member States alone. The bundling of national and EU citizenship means that Member States have a certain responsibility towards each other when taking decisions over who to accept (or reject) as citizens.

EU asylum, borders and external cooperation on migration: Recent developments

18-05-2018

This publication takes stock of recent EU developments in the area of asylum, borders and external cooperation on migration. It discusses key initiatives put forward by the EU in order to respond to migratory challenges, focusing on three major aspects: reforming the common European asylum system, strengthening the EU's external borders and reinforcing the EU's external cooperation on migration.

This publication takes stock of recent EU developments in the area of asylum, borders and external cooperation on migration. It discusses key initiatives put forward by the EU in order to respond to migratory challenges, focusing on three major aspects: reforming the common European asylum system, strengthening the EU's external borders and reinforcing the EU's external cooperation on migration.

Interoperability of European information systems for border management and security

15-06-2017

The collection, processing and sharing of data using new technologies are becoming central to the European Union (EU)’s border management and internal security. In the EU, there are a number of information systems, or databases, that support border management and internal security policies by providing border guards, migration and asylum officials, and law enforcement authorities with information on various categories of people, such as people crossing EU’s external borders, staying in the EU or ...

The collection, processing and sharing of data using new technologies are becoming central to the European Union (EU)’s border management and internal security. In the EU, there are a number of information systems, or databases, that support border management and internal security policies by providing border guards, migration and asylum officials, and law enforcement authorities with information on various categories of people, such as people crossing EU’s external borders, staying in the EU or applying for asylum in an EU Member State. In 2016, the European Commission launched a reflection process on how to improve and develop EU information systems for border management and security. One key dimension of this process is to make the various information systems more interoperable, so as to allow the simultaneous consultation and automatic interconnection of data. While the need to ensure appropriate and effective collection and exchange of information is widely recognised, disagreements remain about the ways and extent to which data should be collected and used, the authorities that can access the data, and the implications for the fundamental rights of individuals, such as the right to privacy and the protection of personal data.

European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs: An overview

11-05-2017

The interconnections between border management, migration and internal security have become more apparent recently in the context of high inflows of refugees and irregular migrants and of increasing terrorist activities in the EU. To address these challenges, the EU has taken steps to revise and develop the European information systems in order to improve the collection, processing and sharing of data among Member States and relevant EU agencies. This publication provides an overview of the existing ...

The interconnections between border management, migration and internal security have become more apparent recently in the context of high inflows of refugees and irregular migrants and of increasing terrorist activities in the EU. To address these challenges, the EU has taken steps to revise and develop the European information systems in order to improve the collection, processing and sharing of data among Member States and relevant EU agencies. This publication provides an overview of the existing and proposed European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs. It discusses the legal basis, the purposes, the scope of data and access, the utilisation and the proposed changes for each information system, including issues of interoperability.

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