The British corona mutation has been found in almost all EU member states, according to a meeting of the European Commission on Thursday.
The South African variety has emerged in fourteen EU countries, and the Brazilian in seven.
"We still have a major challenge ahead of us," warns chairman Ursula von der Leyen.
The new variants are of concern as they are more contagious and may be less susceptible to some vaccines being made now.
The latter applies, for example, to the South African mutant.
Pharmaceutical Moderna has already adapted its vaccine accordingly.
On Thursday, during a new video consultation on the corona crisis, EU leaders talked long about the variants and what to do about them.
They will continue to restrict unnecessary travel for the time being, to prevent mutants from spreading in their country.
But member states should also avoid too harsh measures, said President Charles Michel of the Council of Heads of Government afterwards.
According to Prime Minister Mark Rutte, "it has been expressed that it is important to discourage travel until the epidemiological situation has improved. And if necessary, then there must be a good balance between restrictions and the functioning of the flow of goods".
Six Member States, including Belgium and Germany, keep their borders virtually closed.
As a result, there are regularly long traffic jams at the southern borders of Germany, despite 'green jobs' for freight traffic.
How it was discovered that the British corona variant is more contagious
EMA makes it easier to adapt vaccines to mutations
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on Thursday that it will be made easier to adapt vaccines to the new variants of the coronavirus.
Pharmacists no longer have to go through the entire approval process for an adapted version of the vaccine.
From now on, pharmaceutical companies must demonstrate to the EMA that the amount of antibodies generated by the new vaccine is not significantly lower than that of the original vaccine.
This must be proven in people who have not previously contracted the virus and have not been vaccinated.
Pharmaceutical companies still have to investigate the advantages of a shot of the modified version of the vaccine compared to a second shot with the original vaccine.
The effect of a second injection with the new vaccine must also be examined in people who received the first injection with the original vaccine.