EU announces “safe list” for non-EU travelers

As the EU begins to lift travel restrictions, determining which countries are “safe” is key. However, in order to avoid a second wave of the virus, it’s important to strike a balance between boosting the economy and reducing risks. 

Most border controls have been lifted between EU countries, and citizens are able to travel inside the bloc, including those in the UK. 

The EU has now named 14 countries outside the EU which it deems to be safe. Citizens of these countries will be allowed to enter Europe from 1st July. 

The list, which was determined by factors like infection rates, health services, and reliable data, has been agreed and signed off by a majority (at least 55%) of EU countries. 

Currently, the “safe” list entails Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. This list is likely to be amended, but will be finalized this week. 

China, the US, and Brazil are all excluded. At the moment, the US is the most affected country, with over 125,000 deaths – while Europe has passed the peak of the virus. 

The EU says if the Chinese government offers a reciprocal deal for European travelers, it will consider adding China to the safe list.

The European Commission also plans to make reopening borders with the non-EU Western Balkan states a priority next month.

However, at the moment, bordering Croatia, which is an EU member, said it will place a 14-day quarantine on those arriving from North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Serbia. 

Going forward, the EU will reassess and possibly revise the criteria every two weeks, so countries like Turkey, and the US could be added later, especially if there’s a fall in infection rates. 

In addition, the decision made by the EU will only be a recommendation. Most national borders are still in place, and, despite borders being officially open in Europe, many have imposed their own bans and restrictions on flights and travel throughout the crisis. 

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