EU delays deciding final ‘safe list’ of countries to travel, Americans will be excluded

The flags of the European Union wave in the breeze during the second day of a special European Council summit in Brussels on February 21, 2020, held to discuss the upcoming long-term budget of the European Union (EU).

Ludovic Marin | AFP | fake pictures

European Union countries failed to reach an agreement on Friday on a final “safe list” of countries whose residents could travel to the bloc starting in July, and the United States, Brazil and Russia will be excluded.

The ambassadors of the 27 EU members have met since Friday afternoon to establish criteria to grant quarantine-free access starting next Wednesday.

They were presented with a redesigned text from 10-20 countries, but many said they had to consult with their governments first, diplomats said. The list did not include the United States, Brazil or Russia, a diplomat said. Countries are expected to give informal responses by Saturday night.

The European Commission had reported that the bloc would first lift internal border controls and then gradually open up to outsiders. However, the first step has not gone according to plan.

Greece requires Covid-19 tests for arrivals from a variety of EU countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, with self-isolation until the results are known.

The Czech Republic has said it will not allow tourists from Portugal, Sweden and part of Poland to enter.

There is broad agreement that the block should only be open to those with a similar or better epidemiological situation, but there are questions about how to assess the management of the epidemic in a country and the reliability of the data.

Several countries, such as Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Laos have not reported cases in the past two weeks, according to the EU agency, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

According to ECDC data for the two weeks through Thursday, a variety of countries are clearly in a worse situation than the European Union.

They include the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and much of Latin America, Russia, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.

The Commission has suggested that the countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – be admitted.

However, according to ECDC data, the number of cases in Bosnia and North Macedonia could be too high.