The FINANCIAL — Following the first review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, the Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. This list will continue to be reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks. Serbia and Montenegro have been removed from the list. EU countries also discussed dropping Algeria and Morocco from the safe list due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.
The European Council has updated the list of countries for which member states should gradually lift travel restrictions at the external borders. The new list includes 12 countries instead of 14. Serbia and Montenegro have been removed from the list. In the updated list, the Council of the European Union recommends that member states open their borders with Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, Georgian Public Broadcasting.
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.
This list of third countries should continue to be reviewed every two weeks 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 below.
Regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries listed should 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). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.
EU countries also discussed dropping Algeria and Morocco from the safe list due to a rise in COVID-19 cases but most opposed the move as numbers there were still relatively low. The two North African countries are therefore set to remain on the safe list for the moment. The list is updated regularly. France, the main proponent of Algeria’s removal from the list, said at the diplomats’ meeting it would adopt national measures to block arrivals from the North African state, according to an EU official who attended the meeting, Reuters wrote.
On 16 March 2020, the Commission adopted a communication recommending a temporary restriction of all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU. On 30 June the Council adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, including an initial list of countries for which member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders.
Since Georgia’s inclusion on the list of safe countries, and the issuance of the recommendation on the possible reopening of borders to these countries, the Georgian Government has been engaged in active bilateral negotiations with several EU member states Agreements on the unconditional bilateral reopening of borders have already been achieved with Germany, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. Also, an agreement has been reached with Lufthansa to carry out 2 flights a week to Munich starting in August. The government is negotiating with Air Baltic and Air France as well. Read more.