Coronavirus or not: a serious bureaucracy will not be deterred by such a thing when it comes to inventing new regulations with doubtful benefits and uncertain costs. Never mind that all but essential missions have been cancelled for the time being and that complementary measures – with unknown costs – are still in the making, mission perimeters of various configurations will now be introduced for all JRC sites outside Brussels.
Thanks to the joint efforts of the Local Staff Committees of Ispra/Seville, Karlsruhe, Petten and Geel, however, the current scheme is at least better adapted to local needs and conditions than the initial plans of the Administration. Most importantly, the originally envisaged perimeter of 30 km for Ispra, which would have included even parts of Switzerland, is off the table. Now the perimeter’s radius is 20 km and several communes on the western shore of the Lago Maggiore (Baveno, Belgirate, Meina, Stresa and Verbania/Intra) are expressly excluded although located within a radius of 20 km around Ispra. The Local Staff Committee had insisted on this point arguing that although these places are virtually within sight of Ispra, reaching them requires a lengthy trip by car (unless you want to take a swim), not to mention the difficulties of going there by public transport. A simple application of the same rules as in Brussels would therefore have resulted in very unequal treatment of staff in Ispra.
Equally important are the implementing measures, which the LSC Ispra/Seville has called for right from the start. While the LSC has always acknowledged that short trips to nearby villages should not require a mission order, all the more so as the amounts to be reimbursed remain mostly relatively small and so are of course also possible cost savings from a perimeter, staff cannot be expected to use their private cars for travelling all over the area. All the more so as not everybody can or wants to come to work by car. Needless to say that, unlike in Brussels, public transport is often not a viable alternative either.
Thus other means of transport should be made available to staff and this is indeed what will happen according to the information provided to the Local Staff Committee. It remains to be seen how things work in practice and in particular, how much time will be required to book a service car or a shuttle for such purposes. After all, this is also what staff is strongly encouraged to do rather than continuing to use their own cars. While staff is covered by the accident insurance of the Commission when moving around the area included in the perimeter, this insurance does not cover any damage to your car, should you have an accident with an uninsured car (which according to figures published by the Italian Association of Insurers is far from being a negligible problem). So better not use it!