EU prioritizing free goods flow, vaccine search: EU Council head

EU Council President Charles Michel holds a news conference after a videoconference with EU heads of state to discuss coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures, in Brussels, Belgium March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Walschaerts/Pool

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is prioritizing maintaining open borders for goods to flow and the hunt for a vaccine against the coronavirus, European Council president Charles Michel said in a video conference of EU leaders.

“Our priority is to reduce the non-essential travel of people but at the same time to guarantee the flow of goods, which is very important in order to avoid shortages and to protect as much as possible the single market,” Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits, told the video news conference.

“We will continue also at the international level ... to be part of a common commitment to develop and produce the vaccines we need as soon as possible,” he continued.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Kate Abnett and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Chris Reese