On Friday, the European Union's court ordered the suspension of the decision of the Bureau of the European Parliament which, from 3 November, required a valid, EU-approved Covid certificate for access to EU premises in Luxembourg, Brussels or Strasbourg. The measure, whose application was decided on 29 October, applies to everyone: MEPs, staff, journalists, visitors.
MEPs and staff saw this as "a serious infringement of their fundamental rights and freedoms". They quickly took legal action, coordinated by the non-profit organisation Notre Bon Droit and led by the law firm & De Bandt. The decision was seen as a violation of "certain fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, not just the right to work, the right to physical integrity, the right to liberty and security and the right to equality before the law and non-discrimination, but above all the right to privacy and respect for personal data".
An application for suspension, an interim injunction and an action for annulment have therefore been filed.
A negative self-test will suffice
The court ordered the provisional suspension of the decision in both cases, explains Notre Bon Droit, in a press release. For President Marc van der Woude, "it appears necessary, in the interest of the proper administration of justice, to delay the execution of the contested decision by limiting the conditions of access of the applicants to the premises of the European Parliament to the requirement of a negative self-test. In case of a positive result, this test must be followed by a PCR test. If the latter test is positive, the European Parliament may refuse applicants access to its premises.”
But this will not be the case for everyone. The court's decision applies only to the applicants, i.e. the MEPs and staff members who have taken legal action. They will be exempted from presenting anything other than a negative self-test while the summary applications are being considered, which will be done before the end of this year.
The hope of the applicants is that the court will suspend the decision once again, while the appeals for annulment are examined. This will undoubtedly take many months.
This story was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.