BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union (EU) expects to reopen borders for strangers starting in July, but will review each nation’s COVID-19 situation every fortnight, according to diplomats and a document that sets criteria that could keep them away. Americans and Russians.
FILE PHOTO: The Bridge of Sighs sees tourists a day before Italy and neighboring EU countries open borders for the first time since the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hit the country, in Venice, Italy, June 14, 2020. REUTERS / Manuel Silvestri / File Photo
The 27-nation bloc is eager to restart tourism, which has taken a massive hit during the coronavirus pandemic, but fears of second spikes so far have only allowed for the partial and uneven reopening of borders with multiple health and safety restrictions. .
The draft recommendations of the current EU presidency, Croatia, seen by Reuters, suggests allowing non-EU citizens to come from countries with stable or declining infections, and those with a “comparable or better epidemiological situation” than Europe.
This epidemiological criterion is defined as between 16-20 new cases of infection reported over 14 days per 100,000 people.
The nations would also be evaluated for their records on evidence, location and treatment of contacts, data reliability and reciprocal travel arrangements for EU residents, according to the document, which will be debated by envoys in Brussels on Wednesday.
Based on the latest update from the bloc’s European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), here the proposed methodology could rule out travelers from the United States and Mexico, most of South America, South Africa, Russia, Iran, Arabia Saudi and Afghanistan, among others.
The United States, where President Donald Trump banned European visitors at the start of the crisis, has by far the highest number of deaths and cases in the world. [nL4N2AY3AS]
However, EU diplomats emphasized that the travel criteria could still change and that the recommendations will not be binding.
“There seems to be a lot of illusions in these recommendations. They are also causing a lot of controversy. July 1 may fall and many countries can go their own way in any case, “said a diplomat of the European Commission proposal.
The proposal, aimed at promoting a coordinated approach, would cover Europe’s Schengen zone with normally invisible borders that brings together most of the EU states, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.
A major achievement of post-World War II European integration, it has suffered a major setback in recent months as countries regained border controls to contain the virus.
Additional report by Philip Blenkinsop, written by Gabriela Baczynska, edited by Andrew Cawthorne