Keywords: free movement of persons, covid-19 pandemic, Directive 2004/38/EC, travel restrictions
Abstract: The paper focuses on the reaction of the EU Member States, especially on the case of the Czech Republic, to the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. The reaction comprised of restrictions to the free movement of persons relating to the reintroduction of border controls at the inner Schengen borders, a ban on the entry to and exit from the respective country, or a national quarantine consisting of restrictions on the freedom of movement of citizens based on the categorical requirement to protect public health. The paper analyzes the EU legislation, which did not anticipate an event like the pandemic of a comparable magnitude, and critically looks at the practical implementation of the restrictive measures by the EU Member States, and on the tacit acceptance of the national measures and their subsequent confirmation by the European Commission. In conclusion, the author concentrates on the question whether the current pandemic will contribute to better crisis management of the situations related to infectious diseases in the EU in the near future.