The European Commission has issued a practical guide to facilitate the free movement of priority workers and frontier workers between EU member states. The Commission thus supports governments in creating the conditions under which cross-border commuters can cross borders, where appropriate, without circumventing controls, with proportionate health measures.
It is a positive development in this respect that commuting to the Hungarian-Serbian border is possible again from April 23 for people working on the other side of the border or cultivating land, a study by Deloitte Hungary points out.
In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, EU member states have reintroduced border controls, which means that typically, people living in settlements near the border and seasonal workers are not able to cross borders or get to work. Otherwise justified pandemic restrictions pose serious dilemmas as they hinder the provision of cross-border services and the transport of goods, i.e. the functioning of the EU's internal market. The European Commission supports member states to ensure, through harmonized regulation, the smooth crossing of borders for those whose work requires it due to the nature of the work. Maintaining freedom of movement for those working in certain critical sectors, such as agriculture and the food industry, is of paramount importance.
The Commission has also made recommendations to help member states take action. These include:
1. Provision of dedicated lanes at border crossings for commuting workers;
2. The commuter is easily recognizable by the border guards with the use of special stickers to identify commuting workers;
3. Health screening is done only once, the limit is one side of the border;
4. Provide opportunities for employees to be able to stay in their vehicle during checks and inspections, and their body temperature measured electronically;
5. For commuters, maximize daily temperature monitoring (up to three times).
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