"It is crucial that EU countries set up effective wastewater monitoring systems as soon as possible and ensure the relevant data are immediately made available to health authorities," Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
She said they were an "inexpensive, fast and reliable source of information about the spread of the virus and its variants in the population." Large cities and municipalities should analyze at least two samples weekly in what Sinkevicius said was "a proven concept in public health insurance."
Some European countries have already begun monitoring sewage systems and were able to forewarn about worsening outbreaks. Wastewater systems are also used to gain knowledge about the extent of the use of illegal drugs in the population.
The European Commission put forward a proposal to expand the list of countries whose citizens may visit the European Union for nonessential reasons as long as they have a good COVID-19 situation or if the individuals are vaccinated.
The EU currently recommends allowing touristic and nonessential travel to its 27 member states to citizens of seven other countries. The Commission is hoping to ease restrictions for more countries.
"The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorized vaccine," the EU executive body said in a statement.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote on Twitter that it is "time to revive [the EU] tourism industry and for cross-border friendships to rekindle — safely."