July 1 marks the reopening of European borders, which have been closed since March 17. But not for everyone. After difficult negotiations, the European Union established Tuesday, June 30, a list of countries, based " in particular " on epidemiological criteria, allowing the nationals of these fifteen countries to tread the European continent.
Travelers from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay will be admitted to the EU and the Schengen area. The list, which is intended to be revised every two weeks, also includes China, but only on condition that it admits non-essential visitors from the EU to its soil, which is currently not the case.
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Excluded from this list is the United States, the country most affected by the pandemic in the world with 125,928 deaths in nearly 2.6 million cases, but also Brazil, Russia, India, Turkey and Israel in particular .
" We are entering a new phase with a targeted opening of our borders from tomorrow, " tweeted Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, an institution representing the member states, welcoming their " spirit of close cooperation ".
Although having left the EU, the United Kingdom is considered a member country until the end of the transition period on December 31. The travel ban to the EU also does not apply to EU nationals and residents and their families. Neither certain categories of travelers (health professionals, seasonal workers, diplomats, travelers traveling for imperative family reasons, sailors, students ...)
Difficult compromise to save tourism
The adopted recommendation is not legally binding, EU countries being sovereign over the control of their borders and may decide, for example, to reopen them only to part of the authorized countries. However, coordination is considered essential because of the freedom of movement within the Schengen area, where the restrictions decided to fight the pandemic have been gradually lifted. Europeans favor visitors from countries whose epidemiological situation is similar to that of the EU where the pandemic has subsided, or even better.
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Fruit of a compromise between health imperatives, concern to restart an economy hit by the crisis by promoting tourism and geopolitical considerations, the development of the list was difficult. Europeans were divided on the extent and pace of the lifting of the restrictions. Very dependent on tourism, Greece began on June 15 to reopen its airports to several countries outside the EU, including China, New Zealand and South Korea.
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Other criteria include a tendency for new cases to remain stable or to decrease, as well as the measures implemented by the third country to combat the pandemic, including the practice of tests and the reliability of the data. But also " economic and social considerations ". Algeria, although on the EU list, announced on Sunday evening that its borders will remain closed until further notice due to an increase in cases. On the Moroccan side, no date has yet been set for the reopening of the borders.
The United States excluded
The situation of the pandemic in the United States deprives the Old Continent of a tourist windfall: France welcomed 5 million American tourists in 2019. In Italy, hit hard by the pandemic, their absence this summer will result in a loss of 1.8 billion euros, according to the main agricultural union, Coldiretti.
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While entry into the United States has been prohibited for travelers from most European countries since March 13, US Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said he hoped for a solution " in the coming weeks " to resume trade, considering that it was " important for the United States that the Europeans can return ", and vice versa.
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