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EU leaders prepare for new COVID-19 variants25 February 2021

EU heads of states, governments begin 2-day virtual summit to discuss vaccination, travel restrictions

The EU leaders Thursday began a two-day virtual summit to discuss the bloc’s response to new challenges of the pandemic, as well as the future of EU security and defense policy.

The bloc’s response to the spread of new virus variants will top the agenda.

The EU heads of states and governments will also discuss how to boost the COVID-19 vaccine production and accelerate vaccination campaigns.

The leaders will also debate travel restrictions after the European Commission Tuesday warned Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Hungary the second time that border closures had “gone too far”.

The EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, pointed out in front of the EU affairs ministers that discouraging non-essential travel would be acceptable, but a complete travel ban is not.

The COVID-19 vaccine certificates may also be a controversial point in the leaders’ discussions.

The European Commission is currently working on a system of digital vaccine certificates, initially for medical purposes.

It will be on the EU leaders to decide when and how the document could be used for travels once more data is available on the effects of vaccination.

On Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will join the EU leaders to discuss the bloc’s security and defense policy.

The EU heads of states and governments will also talk about the bloc’s relations with the countries of the southern neighborhood – Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia.

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