The European Union Member States have finally approved a list of 15 countries, considered as safe due to their epidemiological situation related to the Coronavirus, after days of discussions and disagreements. The EU narrowed down the list from 52 countries to 15, and the same turned out to be final.
However, travellers from these countries must first check with the EU 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.
“There are now 14 (+1) countries on the Union list from which the Member States can base their national list of safe countries. These are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China is also on the EU list, but only on the condition of reciprocal action by the Chinese authorities,” one of the Member States announces in a press release.
The ‘safe list’ will be reviewed every two weeks and adjusted depending on the latest Coronavirus developments in each country.
According to the EU Council residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as EU residents for the purpose of this recommendation.
United Kingdom citizens, as well as their family members, are exempted from the temporary travel restriction, and they will be treated in the same way as European Union nationals until the end of the Brexit transition period, on December 31, 2020.
There has been a disagreement between EU countries on the criteria to use for this decision, with some maintaining that data about COVID rates are not reliable.
European Commission introduced its recommendation for the reopening of internal Schengen borders on June 15, so the citizens of European countries would be eligible to travel within the Schengen Zone freely, as they did before the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Commission also recommended that from July 1, the Member States should start permitting third-country nationals to enter the EU, if the COVID-19 situation permits such a step to be taken.