European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case EU-2021-4/1755 – measures in European Union

Road freight: call for keeping borders and supply chains open

Country European Union , applies eu-wide (or beyond)
Time period Open ended, started on 20 January 2021
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Smoothing frictions or reallocation of workers
Author Eurofound
Case created 02 February 2021 (updated 05 February 2021)

Background information

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) called the President of European Commission to prevent the collapse of supply chains due to COVID-19 restrictions on hauliers. EU Member States are increasingly requiring all citizens, including professional goods transport drivers, to present negative COVID-19 tests, often PCR tests, to enter their territory if they come from specific high-risk regions. According to IRU professional international drivers do not have easy access to testing due to the nature of their job.

IRU is the world’s road transport organization that represents more than 3.5 million companies operating mobility and logistics services in over 100 countries.

Content of measure

In the open letter the IRU warns that faced with new COVID-19 strains, EU Member States are contemplating new or tighter restrictions on goods transport, including closing or controlling intra-EU borders and restricting truck drivers. This can damage vital supply chains for millions of EU citizens and businesses.

The example of the Dover blockade was cited where only 0.3% of the tens of thousands of drivers caught up in the crisis tested positive for COVID-19 and there was complete disruption at the border. In this respect IRU asked what would happen if the Dover crisis was repeated at multiple borders across the European continent with devastating consequences on EU supply chains.

IRU recalled that, in a joint statement of the European Council on 26 March 2020, EU Member States unanimously committed to ensure smooth border management for people and goods and preserve the functioning of the single market, based on the Commission’s guidance on implementing Green Lanes. This guidance includes the principle of no testing of goods transport drivers. 3 EU Member States renewed their commitment to implement Green Lanes on 28 October 2020, in the “Policy considerations for a pandemic and other major crisis contingency plan for the European freight transport sector”. Several EU Member States however are now on the verge of breaking their commitments by blocking access to professional goods transport drivers without a COVID-19 test.

Use of measure


Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Employers' organisations
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Not applicable Unknown

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Only employers' organisations
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


This is the own initiative of leading international road transport employers' organization.

Views and reactions

Up to date there is no reaction from trade unions' side.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      H - Transportation And Storage H49 Land transport and transport via pipelines
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Drivers and mobile plant operators


  • 20 January 2021: Call to prevent the collapse of supply chains due to new COVID-19 restrictions (


Eurofound (2021), Road freight: call for keeping borders and supply chains open, case EU-2021-4/1755 (measures in European Union), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.