OMI-STACLE COURSE: The highly contagious Omicron variant is already dominant in much of Europe, with COVID-19 infection charts pointing almost vertically upward in countries like Denmark, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. That means Omicron has already escaped the U.K., where it quickly took over after first being detected in southern Africa last month. Even so, EU members have imposed further draconian travel restrictions on the bloc’s newest ex-member over the Christmas holidays. Freedom of movement, or at least what remains of it in this pandemic, seems now more than ever to be a privilege of EU membership.

Welcome back to POLITICO’S Pandemic Passport — our “between the years” edition comes to you from the snowy hills of Lower Austria! As travel rules become increasingly hard to navigate, we’re pulling together everything you need to know about Europe’s evolving restrictions. We’ll land in your mailbox on Friday afternoons — if you’ve been forwarded this email, you can sign up here. It’s free!

We welcome your feedback, tips and horror stories about travel around Europe. Get in touch: or tweet me @busvine TRAVEL TRACKER

WHERE CAN I GO? We’re updating the coronavirus travel tracker , your guide to visiting every EU country, the U.K. and Switzerland — whether from within the bloc or from further afield. France, Germany and Austria are among countries that imposed new restrictions over the Christmas break — read on for details. Please bear with us; we’ll do a full sweep in […]

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