The European Union announced a list of countries whose citizens will be able to enter the 31 countries of the region, but denied entry to the United States, Mexico and Russia
BRUSSELS.- The European Union will open from July 1 its borders outdoor, closed since mid-March due to the crisis of coronavirus, to fourteen countries considered « insurance« , which does not include the United States, Mexico, Brazil or Russia.
Member States approved this initial list by qualified majority on Tuesday, which will be reviewed every two weeks depending on the evolution of the pandemic.
In the list of countries « insurance« whose residents will be able to travel to the EU include Australia, Algeria, Canada, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
China will also be included if it in turn allows European citizens to enter its territory.
Today’s adoption is only a « recommendation » that encourages EU states to lift the restrictions, but residents of the fifteen countries on the list do not have guaranteed entry, as each member state is competent in matters of borders and you can decide whether to keep the veto.
Nor will it apply in Ireland and Denmark, which have their own rules in the field of borders.
The list of countries was approved by a qualified majority, that is, with the support of at least 55% of the countries that represent at least 65% of the population.
The criteria for determining the third countries for which travel restrictions must be lifted take into account the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distance and economic and social considerations.
Each country should in particular have a situation « similar or less » than the EU in terms of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days and a stable or declining infection trend, also taking into account the previous two weeks.
Likewise, aspects such as evidence, surveillance, tracing, containment and treatment of cases of coronavirus, as well as the reliability of the information.
Another element to take into account will be the reciprocity in the opening of the borders.
The drawing up of the list was prolonged during the last weeks by discussions between the Member States and left out more than 150 countries, including Mexico, Cuba and almost all of Latin America, which, according to the WHO, is the new global epicenter of the pandemic (accumulates 25% of cases globally) and where the contagion curve continues to rise.
The recommendation is not a legally binding instrument, the Council said today, adding that the authorities of the EU countries are responsible for implementing it and that they can only progressively lift travel restrictions to the countries on the list.
However, a Member State should not remove those restrictions for other countries not included in the list before this is decided in a coordinated manner, the recommendation warns.
The list will be reviewed every two weeks, and may be updated « after close consultations with the European Commission and the competent European agencies and services and a complete evaluation » based on the criteria to be taken into account.
Travel restrictions for a third country on the list may be lifted or reintroduced « totally or partially » in light of changes in some of the conditions and in the evaluation of the epidemiological situation.
That way, if the situation in a listed country quickly worsens, a decision must be made quickly.
The closing of the borders At no time has it affected EU and Schengen citizens and their families, as well as third-country nationals who are long-term residents of the EU, health and scientific staff working against COVID-19, individuals that transport goods, frontier workers and farm workers, and it will continue to be so.
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican will be considered as European residents under this recommendation, the Council said in a statement.
The Schengen partner countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) are also part of the recommendation.