Germany is under pressure to explain coronavirus entry bans

Berlin has 10 days to respond to the EC's letter

Photo: EPA German Federal Police check a car on the border with the Czech Republic, 14 February.

Germany is under pressure to explain its entry bans targeting the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Austrian state of Tyrol, after the European Commission complained in a letter that the measures were disproportionate and unjustified, dpa reported.

"We believe that the objective justifiably pursued by Germany – the protection of public health during a pandemic – could be attained by less restrictive measures," the EU's executive body wrote to Germany's ambassador to the bloc Michael Clauss. The letter, dated Monday and seen by dpa, gives Germany 10 days to respond.

In theory, the dispute could lead to legal action against the member state, although this is considered unlikely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Similar letters have been sent to Belgium, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, whose border restrictions have been met with disapproval in Brussels.

At the commission's request, the member states' ministers for European affairs are holding a conference on Tuesday to discuss border measures.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Tyrol were added to Germany's list of "areas of variant of concern" on 14 February, banning the vast majority of people from there from entering Germany, with few exceptions, for example for truck drivers. The measures recently led to travel chaos on Czech motorways leading up to the German border, as authorities struggled to ensure all hauliers had the required coronavirus test certificate.

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