- Several EU member states have imposed flight, train and ferry bans on UK arrivals since Britain announced the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus.
BRUSSELS: The European Commission recommended Tuesday that EU member states lift the blanket bans some have imposed on arrivals from Britain to allow essential journeys and cargo transport to resume.
"Flight and train bans should be discontinued given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid supply chain disruptions," a statement from the EU executive said.
EU member states are responsible for their own borders, but representatives were to meet later Tuesday to study the Commission's recommendations.
Several EU member states have imposed flight, train and ferry bans on UK arrivals since Britain announced the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus.
The ban on arrivals in France has led to long tailbacks of freight trucks in southern England, and has disrupted passenger travel in the run-up to Christmas.
Member states want to get their own nationals home from Britain, and resume freight shipments, but they still want to discourage "non-essential" travel.
The Commission recommended, therefore, that coronavirus tests be carried out on passengers within 72 hours of travel -- although "transport staff" should be exempted.
"Transit of passengers, especially for essential travel, should be facilitated without quarantine," it said.
"A test can be required, but authorities need to inform about such requirement in advance or offer testing during the journey," the statement said.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel told Sky News that British and French authorities are in talks on setting up testing centres in ports.
Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said: "Member states should take coordinated action to discourage non-essential travel between the UK and the EU.
"At the same time, blanket travel bans should not prevent thousands of EU and UK citizens from returning to their homes."
France decided late Sunday to suspend all arrivals from the United Kingdom for 48 hours over the new strain that has resulted in a third lockdown for London and much of southeast England.
Other EU countries have instituted flight and train bans, and Germany has already extended its ban until January 6.