Brussels Airport, Belgium.
The European Union is currently discussing how to reopen its external borders as the region looks to slowly reopen economies, with visitors from countries like America potentially still being barred from entering the bloc.
Thirty European countries decided to close their external borders back in March to contain the spread of Covid-19. The travel restriction has been extended three times since, but it’s now due to come to an end on June 30.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, suggested earlier this month that European nations should open their internal borders by June 15 and slowly lift the travel ban on foreign visitors from July 1. The Commission also said that reopening external borders should be a coordinated exercise among European governments and reviewed on a regular basis.
“It is way too early to say which countries will be in the list,” an EU official, who didn’t want to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks, told CNBC Wednesday in relation to external countries which may be granted access.
The same official explained that representatives of the EU governments are currently discussing the criteria to lift the travel restrictions from abroad and, at the moment, the main requirement is the coronavirus infection rate in the country of origin.
This means that countries with high rates, such as the United States and Brazil, could remain barred from entering European nations, at least for some time.
The same EU official said the list of countries that will see travel restrictions lifted is likely to be “quite limited” with no more than 10 to 15 countries to start with.
The Commission recommended earlier this month to lift restrictions for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia “given that their epidemiological situation is similar or better than that of the EU.”