17 Dec 2021

Limitations on Human Mobility in Response to COVID-19

A preliminary mapping and assessment of national and EU policy measures, their sanctioning frameworks, implementation tools and enforcement practices

Marco Stefan / Ngo Chun Luk

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This report provides a mapping of measures adopted by the European Union and 10 selected Member States to restrict human mobility in order to tackle the spread of COVID-19. It also investigates the impact of the enforcement of mobility restrictions and border controls introduced since the outbreak of the pandemic on the individual rights and freedoms of EU citizens and third-country nationals. It does so by looking at the ways and extents to which different types of restrictions have been implemented and enforced over the 11-month period from the beginning of March 2020 until the end of January 2021.

First, the report identifies and categorises the different typologies of border and mobility restrictions introduced at different levels of governance (EU, international, national and subnational) to contain the spread of COVID-19. Second, the report scrutinises the rationale used to justify the introduction of such measures, looks at the procedures followed for their adoption and implementation, and examines the compatibility of the different categories of intervention with the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality enshrined in EU law. Third, the report looks at the impact of the application of such restrictions on the coherent application of the system of norms and standards currently governing intra-EU mobility, and the management of migration and asylum at the EU’s external borders.

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