On Thursday, Prime Minister Janez Janša attended a video conference of the members of the European Council. European heads of state exchanged best practices related to the measures adopted to contain the coronavirus, and discussed prospects for the coming weeks.
EU leaders evaluated the current health situation, drawing attention to its seriousness, especially in light of the new virus variants. They are determined to limit the spread of the virus by adopting similar measures among the member states. In this context, increasing the sequencing capacity is key.
Borders need to stay open to ensure the functioning of the single market, including the flow of essential goods and services. No indiscriminate travel bans should be imposed. However, measures restricting non-essential travel in the EU may be needed to contain the spread of the virus.
As the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, reported after the video conference, while upholding its principles, the Council may need to review its recommendations on travel within the EU and non-essential travel into the EU in light of the risks posed by the new virus variants.
With regard to testing, leaders are satisfied with the work achieved so far and the agreement on rapid antigen tests and the mutual recognition of test results.
Another important topic discussed at the conference was vaccination. EU leaders want vaccination to be accelerated. In this regard, commitments on deliveries made by companies must be respected. Leaders reaffirmed that vaccines should be distributed at the same time and in amounts proportional to population size. They also reaffirmed the need to have a close follow-up of the vaccination process.
All possible means will be examined to ensure rapid supply, including early distribution to avoid delays.
Leaders agreed to work on a standardised and inter-operable form of proof of vaccination for medical purposes. They will determine at a later stage in what circumstances these certificates could be used. In conclusion, the leaders also reaffirmed their solidarity with third countries, to which effective support should be delivered as soon as possible.