The Council of the European Union has adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of restrictions on non-essential travel from third countries, drawing up a list of 14 states from which travel to the bloc will be allowed from July 1, Reuters reports, taken over by Agerpres.
The ‘safe’ countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, the EU Council said.
According to the consilium.europa.eu website, travel restrictions should be lifted for these 14 third countries, and the list will be reviewed and, if necessary, updated every 15 days.
In addition, China will be included in that list if Beijing applies a reciprocity regime for travelers from the European Union.
In the spirit of this Council recommendation, residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be treated as EU residents.
The criteria for determining the third countries for which the current travel restrictions need to be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and isolation measures, including physical distance, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively.
With regard to the epidemiological situation, listed third countries must meet the following criteria, in particular:
- the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days and reported per 100,000 inhabitants to be close to or below the European Union average;
- stable or downward trend of new cases in this period compared to the previous 14 days;
- COVID-19’s overall response taking into account available information, including issues such as testing, surveillance, contact tracking, isolation, treatment and reporting, as well as information reliability and, if necessary, the overall average score for International Health Regulations (IHR) – the information provided by EU delegations on these issues must also be taken into account;
- reciprocity should be taken into account on a regular and case-by-case basis.
For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories should be exempted:
- EU citizens and their family members;
- EU long-term visa residents and their family members;
- travel with essential functions, as listed in the recommendation.
The Schengen Associated Countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) are also the subject of this EU Council recommendation.
This recommendation of the EU Council is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the EU Member States remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They can, in full transparency, only gradually lift travel restrictions to listed countries.
A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions for unlisted third countries before this is decided in a coordinated manner.
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