Macron vows not to impose stricter entry rules to France from within EU

Whilst France will impose strict new travel rules on Saturday for travel to and from the UK President Emmanuel Macron has vowed there will be no similar restrictions for vaccinated arrivals from the EU.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a press conference at an EU summit.
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a press conference at an EU summit. France has no plans to impose mandatory testing for travellers from EU countries. (Photo by JOHN THYS / POOL / AFP)

Many European countries are taking measures to limit free movement of people due to the Covid pandemic. But on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron made clear that he wants travel within the EU and Schengen zone to remain frictionless. 

“Facing variants of the virus, we must continue to act as Europeans. Vaccinated people will not have to take tests to travel between EU member states,” he tweeted following an EU Council meeting. 

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, he suggested that border closures between EU countries had a “much reduced efficiency” when it came to containing the spread of the virus. 

“From the moment that this or that variant is present in an EU country, it spreads to the others,” he said. 

However certain EU countries like Italy are not following Macron’s line. Italy has just re-introduced mandatory testing for all travellers whether vaccinated or not coming from within the EU.

Concretely, France’s entry policy for people travelling from European countries will not change if Macron’s declaration stands, although it’s possible France could tighten restrictions for those not vaccinated.

France only requires PCR or antigen Covid tests for non-vaccinated visitors coming from EU countries, which are on the “green list”.

READ ALSO How does France’s Covid traffic light system for travel work?

This test must be completed either 24 or 48 hours before your departure, depending on which EU country you are travelling from. 

Macron’s announcement came on the same day that France imposed strict new travel restrictions for people coming from the UK (and for French people who want to go to the UK). All non-essential travel between the two countries is now banned

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UPDATE: French air traffic controllers cancel strike action in September

The main union representing French air traffic controllers has cancelled calls for a strike from September 28th to 30th, after "reaching an agreement with their supervisory ministry."

UPDATE: French air traffic controllers cancel strike action in September

SNCTA, the main union for air traffic controllers said this week that they had lifted their calls for a three-day strike at the end of September after coming to an agreement with France Ministry of Transport. 

In a statement on its website, the SNCTA said “In view of the concrete progress made on the demands, the SNCTA is lifting its [strike] notice for September 28th, 29th and 30th. The strong mobilisation of September 16th was necessary and instrumental for reaching this conciliation in a very constrained calendar. Thank you to all of you!” 

The French ministry of transport has not yet commented on the above agreement or lifting of the strike.

The International Air Transport Association tweeted their support for the SNCTA’s decision to cancel further industrial action, calling Friday’s strike “unnecessary.”

The association also urged the European Union to implement a “Single European Sky.” This reform, which was put forward almost 20 years ago, has not yet reached fruition. It intends to shift the current system of air traffic organisation away from national borders and toward a “coherent zone” in order to reduce emissions and save both time and money.

The strike on September 16th left over 1,000 flights in France grounded, as well as widespread delays and over 2,400 flight cancellations across Europe. 

The SNCTA mobilised for wage increases due to the rising cost of living, in addition to an acceleration of recruitment in order to anticipate a wave of retirements. After Friday’s action, the union had called for further strikes from September 28th to 30th before reaching an agreement with their supervisory ministry.