Agri-food produce to move across Europe via ‘green lanes’

An initiative from the European Commission will seek to ensure the unhindered movement of goods – including agri-food produce – across the EU.

Earlier this week, the commission issued guidelines for member states on how to keep freight moving across borders and dealing with the restrictions associated with Covid-19.

EU member states are requested to – “without delay” – designate border-crossing points on the Trans-European Transport [TEN-T] Network as ‘green lanes’, which would be open to all freight vehicles, whatever goods they are carrying.

The TEN-T Network consists of the most important arteries for road, rail and inland waterways, and integrates ports, airports and multi-model terminals.

The commission envisages crossing borders at these points should not take more than 15 minutes, including time taken for checks and health screenings.

Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski confirmed that agri-food produce will be able to move through these green lanes.

Meanwhile, Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said that the purpose of the green lanes is to “make sure both goods and transport workers are able to travel to wherever they are needed – without delay”.

“A collective and coordinated approach to cross-border transport is more important today than ever before,” Commissioner Valean added.

The commission outlines that procedures at green lane border crossings should be “minimised and streamlined”.

Checks and screenings should be carried out without drivers having to leave their vehicles, and drivers themselves should undergo only minimal checks, the commission says.

The commission is recommending that member states take action to ensure the free movement of all workers involved in international transport, regardless of the mode of transport.