European Union delays decision on external border reopening

Cheryl Sanders
June 30, 2020

The EU has decided on 14 countries whose citizens will be allowed to travel into the bloc from July 1.

According to Euronews, EU officials failed to agree on a common list of the countries that would definitely be banned from entering the block upon the border reopening but managed to create a list of the countries with a better epidemiological situation, the citizens of which will be able to enter Europe by the end of next week.

When EU guidelines were released a few weeks ago officials said the list would take into account the infection rate in countries concerned.

The commission said that citizens of Brazil, Qatar, the United States and Russian Federation would only be able to enter Europe at a later date when the epidemiological situation in these countries improves.

Countries on the EU safe list are also expected to lift any bans they might have in place on European travellers, reports the Associated Press.

The EU cannot agree on a list of "safe countries" from where travellers could visit Europe in July, with some member states requiring more time to decide, diplomats said Saturday (27 June).

However, travellers from these countries must first check with the European Union country they wish to visit, as the Member States are permitted to exclude some of the countries from the list when it comes to who can enter their borders since the policy is not legally binding.

The list must be passed by a "qualified majority" of European Union countries, which means that 55% of European Union countries representing 65% of the population must agree.

The commission cleared Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

The UK was treated in the same way as European Union citizens until the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.

Also under review was whether or not that country had lifted travel restrictions towards the EU.

However, the health-based criteria has collided with geopolitics, with some countries reluctant to collectively ban the United States while welcoming visitors from China, where the pandemic began.

Note that earlier this green list contained 54 countries and Ukraine was included in it.

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