The European Union will most likely not open its borders to citizens of most of the western Balkan countries after 1 July, with the exception of Montenegro and Serbia.
Following talks in Brussels, Member States' ambassadors compiled a list of countries considered safe and attached a recommendation to the European Council.
The ambassadors first approved the criteria to be considered to lift travel restrictions for foreign citizens, then compiled a list of 15 countries based on them. Albania, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia e Bosnia and Herzegovina they are not included in the list, which means that restrictions on citizens of these countries will remain in effect even after July 1st.
More than two weeks ago, the European Commission had proposed opening the EU's borders to all Western Balkan countries from 1 July, but since then the situation has worsened significantly with the increase in cases with Covid-19.
The restrictions also remain in force for US citizens, Brazil and Russia while China is considered safe. The decision is based on epidemiological data collected by the European agency Ecdc. The main condition for reopening borders with countries outside the EU is to have fewer than 16 infections per 100.000 inhabitants.
The list of countries with which the EU will have open borders will be updated every 14 days to reflect the evolution of the Covid situation. So if the situation in Albania improves, the EU can decide to open the borders.
Sources close to the EU, according to Albanian media, say restrictions on citizens traveling for seasonal work, studies, diplomats and health workers will be excluded. However, this remains only a recommendation, as it is ultimately up to the Member States to decide whether or not to open their borders.
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