Coronavirus pandemic

EU agrees 'safe' travel list, which excludes US, Russia

Passengers of a flight from Paris arrive at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens on June 15, 2020.
Passengers of a flight from Paris arrive at Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport in Athens on June 15, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS • The European Union has excluded the United States from its initial "safe list" of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel from today.

The 27-strong bloc gave approval yesterday to leisure or business travel from 14 countries beyond its borders, the Council of the EU, which represents governments of the member countries, said in a statement.

The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

China has also been provisionally approved, although travel would only open up if the Chinese authorities also allowed in EU visitors. Reciprocity is a condition of being on the list.

Russia, Brazil and Turkey, along with the United States, are among countries whose containment of the coronavirus is considered worse than that of the EU average and so will have to wait at least two weeks. The bloc will carry out fortnightly reviews.

The move is aimed at supporting the EU travel industry and tourist destinations, particularly countries in southern Europe hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The list needed a "qualified majority" of EU countries to be passed, meaning 15 EU countries representing 65 per cent of the population.

It acts as a recommendation to EU members, meaning they could set restrictions on those entering from the 14 nations and will almost certainly not allow access to travellers from other countries.

The EU's efforts to reopen its internal borders, particularly among the 26-nation Schengen area which normally has no frontier checks, have been patchy as various countries have restricted access for certain visitors.

REUTERS

 
 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2020, with the headline 'EU agrees 'safe' travel list, which excludes US, Russia'. Print Edition | Subscribe