The European Council updated the list of third countries for which travel restrictions, taken due to the coronavirus (Covid-19), should be lifted for non-essential travel into the EU. According to the Council, based on epidemiological data, as from July 31 member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
According to the Council, residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as EU residents for the purpose of this recommendation.
Algeria has been removed from the list.
EU reviews list of countries for which member states should gradually lift travel border restrictions and open borders.
“The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively,” the Council said.
The EU Council’s recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed.
The Council also recommends for member state not to lift travel restrictions for non-listed third countries before this has been decided in a coordinated manner.
EU Border Restrictions
Criteria for third countries listed
The Council based its decision on the epidemiological situation of third countries that meet the following criteria, in particular:
- number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020).
- stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days.
- overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR).
Moreover, for countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the Council said the following categories of people should be exempted from the restrictions:
- EU citizens and their family members
- long-term EU residents and their family members
- travellers with an essential function or need, as listed in the Recommendation.
Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation.
This list of third countries should continue to be reviewed regularly and may be further updated by the Council, as the case may be, after close consultations with the Commission and the relevant EU agencies and services following an overall assessment based on the criteria above.