The European Council has decided to lift travel restrictions for residents of some third countries.
Today the European Council adopted recommendations on the phasing out of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU. Travel restrictions should be lifted for the countries listed in the recommendation, with this list under review and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, Member States should start lifting the restrictions on travel to external borders for residents of the following third countries from 1 July:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican will be considered to be residents of the EU for the purpose of this recommendation.
As we had anticipatedAlbania remains excluded and will have to wait two weeks with the hope that the number of infections will drop.
The criteria of choice
The criteria for determining the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted concern in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, as well as economic and social considerations.
As regards the epidemiological situation, the third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:
- Number of new COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and per 100000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it was on 15 June 2020) or not more than 16,1.
- Stable or decreasing trend of new cases in this period compared to the previous 14 days
- Overall response to COVID-19 taking into account the information available, including aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact traceability, containment, processing and communication, as well as the reliability of the information and, if necessary, the total average score (EU average rating 57 out of 100).
Information provided by the EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account. Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.
For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of people should be exempted from the restrictions:
- EU citizens and their family members
- EU residents and their family members
- Travelers with an essential function or need.
- The Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation.
The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. Member State authorities remain responsible for the implementation of the content of the recommendation. They can, in full transparency, progressively remove travel restrictions to the listed countries.
A Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions for non-listed third countries before this has been decided in a coordinated way.
This list of third countries is expected to be reviewed every two weeks and can be updated by the Council, as appropriate, after close consultation with the Commission and relevant EU agencies and services following a comprehensive assessment based on the above criteria .
Travel restrictions can be lifted or reintroduced in whole or in part for a specific third country already listed on the basis of changes in some conditions and, consequently, in the assessment of the epidemiological situation. If the situation in a listed third country deteriorates rapidly, rapid decision-making is needed.
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