European “green lanes” for smooth freight flow amid coronavirus

The European Commission has adopted Guidelines on the implementation of the Green Lanes to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services, as the continent faces coronavirus outbreak.

The Guidelines stress the principle that all EU internal borders should stay open to freight and that the supply chains for essential products must be guaranteed.  The free flow of goods, especially in times of  emergency and in the interest of all, requires that Member States respect and fully implement the  Guidelines at all border-crossings at internal borders.

The document, published on March 23, is designed to help Member States to implement the Guidelines  as regards the green lanes. It is intended to engender a cooperative process across the EU to ensure all  freight, including but not limited to essential goods such as food and medical supplies, gets quickly to its destination without any delays.

The EC highlights that in order to preserve the EU-wide operation of supply chains and ensure the functioning of the Single Market for goods, wherever internal border controls exist or have been introduced Member States are requested to designate immediately all the relevant internal border-crossing points of the TEN-T and additional ones to the extent deemed necessary, as “green lane” border crossings for road and rail, as well as for sea and air transport.

Under the “green lane” border crossings concept, any checks and health screening of transport workers,  should not exceed 15 minutes on internal land borders.  Additional border crossings should be opened, focused exclusively on goods passage, if those on the TEN-T are saturated. They should be located as near as possible to the TEN-T border crossings. The “green lane” border crossings should be open to all freight vehicles carrying anytype of goods, including all heavy and light duty vehicles and where applicable trains and vessels.

The Commission also recommends the use of measures to deliver enhanced hygiene in airports, ports, railway stations and other land transport hubs. Designation of priority staff should also be considered in transport hubs as well as measures to ensure disinfection.


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