As of July 1, the EU will re-open it’s external borders to tourists from 14 non-EU countries but tourists from America will still be prohibited to travel to Europe. This is because the USA is still seeing high numbers of Covid-19 cases, which places them in the high-risk category.
For some days now, the EU has been debating which countries are deemed ‘safe’. This means that in the last two weeks, the rate of new Covid-19 cases has remained the same as or is lower than that of the European average. The bar was fixed at 16 cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks.
Finally, it has been announced which 14 non-EU countries will be allowed in from July 1st, they include Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Georgia.
If Beijing agrees to a reciprocal travel deal for EU citizens, China will also be added to the ‘safe’ list.
The USA has noticeably been left off the list, as the country has seen over 2.5 million Covid-19 cases and 125,000 deaths. This equates to roughly one-quarter of the total globally.
In the last few days, there has also been a resurgence of cases in many of the states across America. This leaves them sitting on the ‘high’ risk list.
The US has also closed its borders to anyone travelling from Europe.
Italy has said that the loss of American tourists will see a loss of approximately 1.8 billion euros. That’s not surprising when in 2016, roughly 12 million tourists from America travelled to Europe. The most popular destinations they visited were France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Russia, Brazil and India are also still considered to be in the high-risk category, so they have also not been included on the ‘safe’ list.
The list will officially be published on Tuesday, with the exception of any last-minute changes.
It may have been agreed upon at a political level, however, the final decision will ultimately be down to the Member States, because as it stands it is not legally binding.
Border control remains an issue and is not something that is decided at EU level, this means that some countries may decide to go it alone.
The list of countries will be reviewed every two weeks, and according to the latest spread of COVID, will be adjusted accordingly.
EU and Schengen area countries, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, lifted their border controls on June 15th, allowing EU citizens to travel within the bloc. External borders will open on July 1st.
Until the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, all UK nationals will be treated in the same way as EU citizens. This means they can travel to Europe freely but may be required to quarantine for 14 days on their return.
Countries such as France and Germany have, along with the Commission emphasised the need for a "common and coordinated approach" and don't want to see individual states going it alone.
The Commission also made it clear that the continued restrictions after July 1st wouldn't apply to EU nationals, those from Schengen area countries, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, or non-EU nationals and family members who have their main address in Europe "regardless of whether or not they are returning home".
The EU Commission also stated that "Member States should ensure that those travelling to study are exempted, together with highly-skilled non-EU workers if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or performed abroad”.
January 14, 2021