EU humiliated: Germany leads bloc-wide rebellion against Brussels legal action threat

EU: German minister defends country's border restrictions

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Brussels and the EU Commission have said Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Hungary, Finland and Sweden have put rules on their borders that are too restrictive. The Commission warned the countries until next week to provide a “good reason” for the coronavirus measures or face having to lift them. Brussels has warned it wished to adopt a “coordinated” approach but is ”unlikely” to win against the unilateral moves as tackling the pandemic and freedom of movement issues begin to clash. 

Brussels sent letters to the six countries ahead of their meeting last week telling them to give good reasons for border closures. 

They are worried the closed borders will disrupt trade and harms the key tenet of the EU – freedom of movement. 

However, Germany’s European Affairs Minister Michael Roth bit back and agreed that while his country’s measures are affecting movement and trade, the people’s health comes first. 

The EU’s spokesperson Christian Wigand warned that countries acting in their own self-interest risks the unity of the bloc. 

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He said: “The Commission has been clear, without a coordinated approach – among 27 member states – we risk fragmentation and disruptions to free movement into supply chains. 

“Something we have witnessed again in the past few weeks.”

Queues at some German borders have increased as anyone entering the country from restricted areas require a negative Covid test before entering. 

The Commission wrote to Germany saying that “less restrictive measures” could be introduced to tackle the spread of COVID-19. 

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It comes as Chancellor Angela Merkel warns a third-wave in the country is on the horizon as new strains and variants quickly spread across the continent. 

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZ) also revealed they would only be able to supply half of their second-quarter contract to the bloc in another blow to the EU. 

Despite this, many German citizens are refusing to have the AZ jab due to misinformation about the vaccine. 

Over 1.4 million doses have been rejected and now sit in German stockpiles. 

The bloc is also split regarding vaccine passports and international travel restrictions. 

Greece and Austria – who both rely heavily on tourism – have pushed other member-states to adopt the documents as a way to reopen the tourism sector. 

However, opposition from France means talks have now slowed with many warning Europe may once again fall behind in tackling the pandemic.

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