BRUSSELS | green light for Canada and three countries of the Maghreb, fire red for the United States and Turkey: the Europeans are expected to confirm on Tuesday a short list of a dozen countries whose nationals will be allowed to travel in the EU from Wednesday.
The governments of the member States had until Tuesday afternoon to vote on the list of countries in which the epidemiological situation related to the COVID-19 is found to be sufficiently reliable for the recovery of these trips, then that starts the summer tourist season.
Developed by the ambassadors of the countries of the european Union on Friday evening, the subject of difficult negotiations, the list of visitors allowed in the EU and the Schengen area account Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
It also includes China, but only on the condition that she admit her on the ground the visitors coming from the EU, which is currently the case only in a limited way.
However, are excluded from this list, which is intended to be updated every two weeks, the United States, the country most affected in the world by the pandemic, with 125 928 deaths to nearly 2.6 million cases. There are not Brazil, Russia, India, Turkey, and Israel in particular.
Although they have left the EU on January 31, the United Kingdom was not affected by the travel restrictions.
For the list is endorsed, it must be approved by 55 % of member States representing at least 65 % of the total population of the EU, which should be the case, according to european sources.
Travel “non-essential” to Europe have been banned since mid-march, in order to combat the spread of the pandemic.
The vote shall be taken on a recommendation that is not legally binding, the countries of the EU are sovereign control of their borders. But they agree to co-ordinate because of the freedom of movement within the Schengen area, where restrictions are decided to fight the pandemic have been gradually lifted.
“Partial and gradual”
Caught between the imperatives of health and the desire to restart an economy hit by the crisis by promoting the tourism, the EU has agreed to allow new travellers from third countries from 1 July, but “partial and gradual”.
But the development of the list was an arduous task. Some member States put into question the reliability of the data provided by third countries, such as China.
And the Europeans were more or less in a hurry to lift the restrictions. Very dependent on tourism, Greece, for its part, started as early as the 15th of June to re-open its airports to several countries outside the EU, including China, New Zealand and South Korea.
The Europeans favour the visitors come from countries in which the epidemiological situation is similar to that of the EU, where the pandemic has ebbed, or even better. The rate of new cases of COVID-19 shall not exceed 16 per 100 000 inhabitants (average in the EU) on the last 14 days.
Other criteria, a tendency to stability or decrease of new cases, as well as the measures put in place by the third country to fight the pandemic, including the practice tests.
The situation of the pandemic in the United States thus depriving the Continent of the american tourists who come in numbers every year: in France, they were 5 million in 2019. In Italy, hit full-on by the pandemic, their absence this summer will result in a loss of € 1.8 billion, according to the main agricultural union, the Coldiretti.
While the entry into the United States is prohibited to travellers from most european countries since the 13 march, the chief of american diplomacy Mike Pompeo said he hoped a solution “in the coming weeks” for the resumption of trade, believing that it was “important for the United States that the Europeans can come back”, and vice versa.