The representatives of the EU countries have updated the EU travel shortlist of countries from which they allow travel to the EU. No country was added to the list agreed at the end of June and two dropped out.
As reported by the EU Council, the list currently includes: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. In addition, the EU declares its openness to China, subject to reciprocity from that country. Montenegro and Serbia dropped out of the list. Inhabitants of European micro-states: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican are to be treated as if they were EU residents.
A Council Recommendation is not a legally binding instrument as it is the Member State authorities that are responsible for opening and closing borders. However, the EU recommendation is supposed to make it happen in a coordinated manner.
On the basis of the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, Member States were to begin lifting travel restrictions for residents of 15 countries from 1 July (at that time Serbia and Montenegro were still on the list).
However, not all EU countries followed this recommendation. Belgium and Hungary implement their own policy in this matter.
The criteria taken into account to lift the current travel restrictions include the epidemiological situation and containment measures, as well as “economic and social considerations”.
In particular, the number of new cases of Covid-19 in the last 14 days is crucial. It should be close to the EU average for mid-June. At that time, it was 16 cases per 100,000. residents.
In addition, countries to which the EU is opening should have a stable or declining infection trend within two weeks. The general reaction of a given country to a pandemic is also taken into account: the number of tests performed, contact tracing, restrictions on social life, reporting, and the reliability of information.
The EU delegations in third countries can also express their views on these issues.
Restrictions on crossing the EU’s external border do not apply to EU citizens, citizens of non-EU countries but belonging to the Schengen area and their family members, as well as third-country nationals who are long-term residents in the EU if they want to return home.
The travel restriction to the EU introduced in mid-March due to the pandemic applies to the “EU + area” which includes all Schengen Member States, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, and the four Schengen Associated States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) .
The EU travel shortlist can be updated every two weeks by the Council of the EU after close consultation with the European Commission and the relevant EU agencies and services.
Source: Polski Obserwator