It is official. The European Union will be in a position to open its external borders to a total of fifteen countries after three and a half months of self-isolation. The capitals have given the majority support to the recommendation to raise the barrier with Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China, provided and when the Asian giant does the same with potential European visitors. Almost the entire globe is left outThe veto over the United States and Russia being especially significant.
The Council confirmed after 3.30 pm what will be the first movement of external reopening after the imposed bolt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in mid-March. The criteria that have guided the decision with the limited number of third countries chosen are the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as other economic and social considerations.
The agreement establishes that those first fifteen countries (the list will be reviewed every two weeks) and those that are added thereafter, must comply with a number of new cases of Covid-19 in the last 14 days and for every 100 000 inhabitants that are close to or below the EU average (around 20).
A “stable or downward trend of new cases during this period compared to the previous 14 days” is also required. Likewise, the general response to combat the pathogen will be taken into account “including aspects such as tests, surveillance, follow-up of contacts, containment, treatment and reports, as well as the reliability of the information and the total average score of the International Health Regulations, as well as the information provided by the EU delegations on those same aspects “. Reciprocity will also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis (Spain, for example, will require it from Morocco).
For those countries with which the non-essential travel restrictions will be maintained, the possibility of authorizing travel with the EU for European citizens and their families, legal residents in the community territory and their families and those workers who work, are established as an exception. functions or activities considered essential.
The Council’s recommendation is not legally binding, since it is the Member States that manage its borders. The proposed list serves as a guide, although it is stated, however, that a club member should not decide to open up to third countries not included in the list “before this has been decided in a coordinated manner”. It is further emphasized that travel restrictions “can be lifted or reintroduced in whole or in part” for a specific third country that has already passed the screening depending on whether its epidemiological situation worsens. “If you do it quickly, decision-making should be quick,” he stressed.