EU countries with basic freedom of movement

I currently live in the US. I am exploring Portugal residency or citizenship. I love Portugal and the people, food, culture, etc. I am open to living other places such as Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Greece but prefer warm weather.

My concern is that I have heard of the lockdowns around Europe. I have read that in Spain people are not even free to travel to neighboring regions. They seem quite severe lockdowns in some EU countries and this affects quality of life and health. Where I live in the United States, there are no lockdowns since April 2020. There is some spread of COVID but people make their own decisions about risks and overall it isn’t overwhelming the health care system. Masks are mostly required. Most people live their lives and go about their business with some precautions. Of course, there are some jerks who are completely irresponsible but no law can correct this attitude.

I don’t necessarily want to live in a country where there are few personal freedoms. Some restrictions are obviously necessary and warranted but not harsh travel and freedom of movement limits in my opinion.

I hope this all passes but it does make me nervous about moving to some European countries. Are there some countries in Europe that respect freedoms but still have basic regulations in place to protect people?


I think you will find that people in other countries/cultures are less obsessed with personal freedom than Americans. It’s not just in Europe. There were also travel restrictions within the country in countries Asia as well.

I certainly understand. I have read that in some Scandinavian countries such as Finland people mindlessly follow the directives of the government. Anyone worked in Finland - Locations :world_map: - Nomad Gate @alainboy
It’s a sad situation.

However, Sweden is one country which early on refused to lockdown completely due to COVID19. I don’t know whether they fared better or worse than their neighbors in the end. Really, that is irrelevant to my point.

If I have a choice on where to live, and someday I hope that to be the case, I am just giving my preference to live where personal liberty is given more priority than a “risk-free” society.

It is not a matter of personal freedoms in Europe. As you can see their unelected ruling commission have made a complete ‘pigs ear’ of the contract for purchase of vaccines and indeed theroll-out of injections, and the individual nations have been left high and dry obeying/waiting for instructions from this useless unelected (by the populus) ‘higher authority’.
They in turn act a little like a dictatorship and raid factories like SS Troopers to show how powerful they are, blaming UK for everything when in reality everybody knows how inept they have been.

Now France and Italy are in extremely bad situations, whereas the UK whom was in this situation in December/January have vaccinated themselves out of their individual crisis with remarkable effect.
The borders have never been closed anywhere in Europe as anyone with a genuine need to travel for family reasons or indeed work can do so as long as its very much justified.

I do not believe Sweden has fared much worse than other countries in fact the last figures I noted from mid March showed Sweden in 8th place of worst cases in Europe with France and Italy in 9th and 10th, but that week most countries in the list, apart from the top 5, were all in the 2000s.
The problem is that in top place with 7500 cases plus was Estonia, and many tens of thousands of workers in the construction industry commute back and for every weekend to the Helsinki area of Finland but their Government is a very inexperienced, should I say Green (in two ways) and don’t want to make ANY decisions - they are quite useless and still have not made it law to wear masks.

The problems in Europe are many-fold and I don’t believe their will be any real change in 2021.

I have found Europeans to be more conscious and protective of personal freedom than Americans. Perhaps our opinions differ based on diverging definitions of personal freedom. Europeans don’t seem to clamor for the personal freedom to trash the public commons and harm others without consequences, but they seem far more attentive to privacy. The relationship between European police and the public has a markedly different character than the relationship between American police and the public.


I only meant in the context of the lockdown because it seemed the first post only talked about freedom of movement during COVID. Although now to think more about it, to lump all of US into one culture is incorrect since each state is different — there were no protests in the western states about wearing masks is a personal freedom violation.
If we are talking generally, I absolutely agree with you that “Europeans don’t seem to clamor for the personal freedom to trash the public commons and harm others without consequences, but they seem far more attentive to privacy.” Look at their GDPR compare to our privacy law, right? :slight_smile:

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I whole heartedly agree with & feel you on the extreme restrictions, that’s what has halted my move overseas…I definitely am obsessed with Freedom!

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Government’s reactions to the pandemic are an excellent example of the ‘greater good’ concept. The public has a shared interest in stopping or curtailing the pandemic. We have a common future, one that is dependent on stopping the pandemic, finding both an effective vaccine and effective treatment. Because of our shared interest and common future, the needs of the many outweigh the wants of the few.


The restrictions of movement in Spain are/were temporary and if you have a good reason to cross a border, you definitely can do so. And there were plenty of “good reasons” you could use to justify movement. The closures were meant to keep people from doing unnecessary travel for a limited time to stem the tide of rising COVID cases and not some arbitrary reason. The restrictions worked and the numbers have come down again. Sometimes it really is about doing something for the greater good and not being so selfish.