The EU has named 14 countries whose citizens are considered “safe” to enter July 1, despite the pandemic – but the United States, Brazil and China are excluded.
The names include Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco and South Korea.
The EU is ready to add China if the Chinese government offers a reciprocal deal to EU travelers, diplomats say.
EU border controls have been suspended for EU citizens traveling within the bloc. The rules for UK travelers are covered separately in Brexit negotiations.
UK citizens must still be treated in the same way as EU citizens until the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December. Therefore, during this period, UK nationals and their families are exempt from temporary travel restrictions.
On the current “safe” list, which is likely to be changed, are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
The UK is currently negotiating “air bridges” with several EU member states, so that the coronavirus does not completely block summer holidays – Europe’s busiest season for tourism, which employs millions of people.
The EU’s procedure for formalizing the list and the criteria by which countries are considered to be safe or not should be finalized by noon on Tuesday.
A qualified majority of EU countries – at least 55% of EU countries, representing 65% of the EU population – have signed the list.
There were divisions between those like Spain – wanting to boost tourism, but preferring to play safely because they were hit so hard by Covid-19 – and others like Greece and Portugal, which depend on tourism, but are less marked by the virus.
Last week’s reports said that member states were evaluating two different lists. According to the Politico website, one covered countries with less than 16 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people and the other with up to 20 cases, which would include Canada and Turkey. The list is expected to be reviewed every two weeks, so that the United States can be added later.
Earlier this month, the European Commission also emphasized that reopening borders with non-EU countries in the Western Balkans was a priority from 1 July. However, EU member Croatia said last week that travelers from Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and North Macedonia would face 14-day self-isolation due to the rise in infections.