Why did they close borders

Opinion: Closing borders is not a solution in the fight against Corona

The special summit of EU heads of government to combat the pandemic reveals a certain perplexity. The infection rates in almost all EU countries are too high. The virus mutates. The vaccination campaign stutters. Citizens are increasingly tired of Corona and tired of the lockdown. In this depressing situation, the reflex to close borders or to restrict travel even further emerges. Even Chancellor Merkel is swinging the border club, although only six months ago it was completely agreed that there should never be wild border closings like in the first wave of the pandemic.

"Unnecessary" trips should be prevented. What exactly this should be has not been defined in more detail. Cross-border tourism hardly takes place in the EU anymore due to the manifold test and quarantine barriers. Only around four percent of all EU citizens work in another EU country. Nobody knows whether these cross-border commuters are the drivers of the infection. Why workers who drive to the factory in the neighboring country in their own car should be more contagious than workers who drive to the factory in the neighboring city in their own country, nobody, not even a head of government, can really explain.

What limits should it be?

European correspondent Bernd Riegert

Are the tens of thousands of truck drivers who drive goods daily from Spain to Denmark or from Belgium to Austria or elsewhere in the EU the best friends of the virus? If all of these are to be tested at every border, the logistics companies assume that supply chains and supplies will be seriously disrupted.

It is not traveling, which is being on the move, that is dangerous, but rather the behavior of people in their destinations and places of origin. Those who adhere to the hygiene rules in the city where they visit their grandmother, aunt or children are no more or less contagious than at home.

When it comes to preventing movement and mobility in general, it should not be tied to the EU's internal borders. Then a Europe-wide lockdown with a consequent curfew would be needed. Then you might as well close the borders between Bremen and Lower Saxony, because the incidence in Bremen is lower than in Lower Saxony. Or you could cordon off Berlin-Mitte with a high incidence so that people from Berlin-Dahlem (with a lower incidence) do not enter there. The Chancellor's threat to close the borders if necessary if the neighboring states are not as strict as Merkel herself goes completely wrong. France and Belgium have long since had curfews and compulsory tests, which the Germans still could not bring themselves to.

It is an illusion that measures could be coordinated and standardized across Europe. Every country has its own mix of rules. That's the problem - not the limit. The EU Commission is supposed to take on the thankless task of preventing "unnecessary" travel. So far, however, it has not even managed to create a uniform form for crossing the border for all 27 countries (passenger locator form). We have been working on it since October!

Vaccination certificate is necessary

It is actually a revolutionary step that an EU-wide vaccination certificate is now being announced. He has to come so that the people who will be vaccinated in the summer can exercise their rights again. It's not about privileges, but about normality, the right to go, drive, fly wherever you want. As soon as it is proven that the vaccination prevents the infection of other people by the vaccinated person, the vaccination certificate must be able to be used as an entrance ticket for restaurants, cinemas, holiday hotels. It would be even better to enforce compulsory vaccination. After all, there is also measles in Germany. And no one has ever raved about the two-class society because he or she has to have a yellow fever vaccination to travel to many countries in the world. Organizing the vaccination certificate would be the real European task, not the wave of the border post.