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European Commission urges states to open borders to seasonal farm workers

EU countries should allow the hundreds of thousands of seasonal migrant workers who plant or harvest crops to cross borders despite national measures to contain the coronavirus, the European Commission said on Monday.

States across the 27-nation European Union have set up border controls to stem the spread of the virus, but with the side effect of delaying food and medical supplies, as well as cross-border workers.

The EU executive last week urged EU countries to limit to 15 minutes the time it takes for goods traffic to cross a border. However, some crossings into and out of Hungary had jams of up to 4km (2.5 miles).

The Commission said on Monday countries should establish simple and fast procedures to ensure smooth passage for essential workers with proportionate health screenings, Reuters reports. Some 1.5 million people live in one EU country and work in another.