Malta is the first EU country to ban unvaccinated visitors

In an unprecedented move, Malta has announced, that as of 14 June 2021, everyone over 12 years of age can be allowed in Malta only if they are fully vaccinated. If the visitors are from amber list countries (all the EU, the UK etc.) and are not fully vaccinated, they have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

If, on the other hand, you are a Maltese resident and booked your flight before 14 of June, as long as you can show a recent negative PCR test you can enter without having to quarantine.

I would like to mention a couple of points in this regard…

1) I have a few Maltese friends and relatives who had their flights booked to Malta for after today and who, being citizens of other EU countries too did not bother renewing their Maltese documents, as they saw no point in this. Now they are forced to cancel their flights home.

The lesson here: free movement within the EU as we know it is changing…the one thing that is permanent- a passport holder of what country you are. You can be denied access to another EU country (even if it is a country you were born in and are de facto a citizen of) on a very short notice. If you are a citizen of several countries, make sure you have your documents in order to prove this.

2) Freedom of movement within the EU is the cornerstone of Union citizenship. However, it appears that due to the pandemic the member states are violating this vital principle like never before.

Interestingly, from the beginning of July, there has been a common framework for EU countries to accept EU digital COVID certificates at their borders. These certificates show if a person has been vaccinated, has a recent negative PCR test result, or has recovered from COVID-19. This framework is less than 2 weeks old; however Malta’s new regulation already is not aligned with it.

As recently stated by the European Commission, “A vaccine certificate cannot be a precondition for the exercise of free movement. This is one of the main principles of the EU digital COVID certificate regulation.”

I expect that other EU countries pressured by the rising numbers of Covid cases will follow Malta shortly; this will further undermine the common EU regulations implemented for all the member states to adhere to. This eventually is likely to cause weakening of the EU system as a whole, as the individual member states will de facto be given a green light to violate the EU regulations on the EU freedom of movement at a very short notice based on their own judgement. 

A vaccination certificate should not be above and beyond the rights of the EU citizens to enter other member states. It is a dangerous precedent, which may lead to irreparable consequence for the EU as a whole, as its freedom of movement is one of its fundamental pillars.  

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