France, Germany agree to keep border open but introduce tougher controls

Photo: EPA France's Health minister Olivier Veran

France and Germany have agreed on tighter border controls, but for the moment the border will remain open despite fears in Germany of the spread of Covid virus variants from France's Moselle department, The Local France reported.

German leaders last week raised the possibility of closing the border altogether after a ‘hotspot’ of cases of the South African and Brazilian variants of the virus in the French border area of Moselle.

However after discussions between the two countries and at a European level, a new package of tougher controls has been introduced, while keeping the border open. “On both sides of the border, we share the objective of preserving freedom of movement and enabling cross-border workers to continue their professional activity,” a joint statement from France’s health minister Olivier Véran and Europe minister Clément Beaune said.

However, cross-border workers, who had exemptions until now, from 1 March will need to present negative PCR tests to get through if travelling for reasons unrelated to their jobs. Home working in the area will also be reinforced. Joint France-German police patrols could be stepped up, the statement said, adding that France’s vaccination programme in the region was also being sped up and testing would be boosted.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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