EU Interior Ministers discuss virus contact tracing apps

Such schemes will be used only on a voluntary basis and fully respecting privacy

Photo: EU Davor Božinović.

EU ministers responsible for home affairs held a videoconference to discuss the state of play and way forward on the response to Covid-19. The meeting was chaired by Davor Božinović, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister of Croatia.

The ministers shared their views on potential gradual easing or removal of restrictions introduced on the borders. They also discussed the European roadmap to lifting coronavirus containment measures  announced by the Commission, since a balanced and timely approach to lifting the measures is key for ensuring a sustainable epidemiological situation and revitalising the economies of Member States, whereby the cooperation among neighbouring Member States is crucial. The borders could be gradually reopened, starting from border areas with recorded decrease in Covid-19 cases.

The ministers also discussed applications for contact tracing, given that contact tracing is one of the key measures for controlling the spread of the virus, particularly within the framework of the gradual easing of restrictions on movement. Such applications would be used only on a voluntary basis and fully respecting privacy and the relevant provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation, thus preventing the spread of the new wave of virus infection. Certain Member States are already working on such applications or are already using them, and some member states have proposed that one application should be accessible to all because they think that this would contribute to transparency at EU level.

Interior ministers also talked over further improvements in transit corridors in order to enable continuous functioning of the single market and free movement of goods. Under the current circumstances, it is essential to have coordination among Member States to ensure continuous supply of the market, primarily with goods of special importance, such as food products, medicines and protective and medical equipment.

Topics such as the current situation at the internal and external borders, asylum, returns and resettlements and the swift shift in criminal activities were also on the table.

 

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