Bary Pradelski, Miquel Oliu-Barton, 09 February 2021

EU member states agreed to adopt a joint strategy to exit Covid-19, based on setting public health measures and travel restrictions dependent on a region’s epidemiological situation. The strategy follows three of the four key principles of green zoning as introduced in the original version of this column, published in April and circulated to European decision makers: (1) divide each country into smaller zones; (2) label zones green if the virus is under control, and red otherwise; (3) adopt colour-dependent public health measures. However, the strategy falls short on the last and critical principle: (4) allow free travel between green zones, but control other travel. This update argues that the unconditional protection of green zones through travel restrictions must become the EU’s focus to curb the spread of the virus, avoid the repeated lockdowns experienced over the past year, and minimise economic and social damage.

CEPR Policy Research