The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of EU citizens’ lives: the ways we travel, the ways we work, the ways we meet our family members and friends. ECAS research shows that the initial outbreak had a particularly serious impact on mobile EU citizens, as it magnified the obstacles that they have been facing in their host countries. Everyone has had to endure the crisis but the pressure placed on those exercising their freedom of movement rights has been particularly high.
More than two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, there is finally hope of “a long period of tranquility”, according to the World Health Organisation. Thanks to the high percentages of the vaccinated population, the low virulence of the Omicron variant and the end of winter, it seems that our European way of life might slowly return to normal. But do Europeans really want it the way it was or do citizens expect changes and reforms for a better, more sustainable and fairer European Union?
Freedom of movement was one of the first victims of COVID-19. The initial response to the pandemic took place at nation-state level and revealed a lack of solidarity and coordination among the Member States. The European Commission has committed to addressing the restrictions on free movement in the upcoming 2022 Communication on Directive 2004/38/EC.
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