Some member states of the European Union they began this Wednesday timidly to reopen its borders outside some 15 countries, including China (although it is conditional on the principle of reciprocity), within a list agreed at European level. But other members will keep the restrictions to territories considered safe or will allow entry to others that are not on the payroll.
After agreeing on Tuesday the list of countries whose residents will be allowed non-essential travel to the EU, Europe cautiously began to undo the first massive bolt in its history, motivated by the pandemic of coronavirus.
nullThe “plague” forced the closure in mid-March for all trips that were not essential.
The EU recommends reopening its borders to a small number of countries around the world: Australia, Algeria, Canada, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Rwanda, while In the case of China, the entry of its citizens is linked to the fact that Europeans can enter there.
A recommendation disguised as agreement
The list is not mandatory. Each Member State is sovereign over its borders and can decide to maintain the veto to the citizens of one of these countries or, in the same way, to allow the entry of people who come from another non-EU country that does not appear on the agreed list.
The payroll is, after all, a recommendation so that the reopening of the external borders is less chaotic than the initial imposition of internal restrictions carried out in March, when the Schengen area suffered major disruptions from which it is only now beginning to recover.
The Czech Government, for example, announced that it will maintain entry restrictions for those traveling from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Uruguay, Georgia and Rwanda, despite the fact that these countries are on the list agreed by the EU.
Similarly, Austria imposed a travel alert for Serbia and Montenegro along with others in the Western Balkans, although these two countries are also on the list.
The opposite case is that of Croatia, which decided to expand the list and add its neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina, apparently to facilitate the arrival of voters next Sunday for the legislative elections.
Bulgaria also includes Bosnia in its own list, although it excludes twelve of the fourteen countries agreed in Brussels and will only reopen the borders for Serbia and Montenegro, in addition to the Schengen area.
Italy, for its part, announced that it will allow the entry of residents of all the countries on the list for “work needs, health reasons, studies and absolute urgency” and imposed a mandatory quarantine.
Belgium, for its part, will evaluate in the coming days “when and under what conditions” it will allow access to its territory for “non-essential” travel by residents of the 14 countries that are part of the European recommendation.
Countries such as the Netherlands have lifted the entry ban on the group of countries selected by the European Union, demanding reciprocity from China, considering that these territories have a comparable or better than average health status with respect to the coronavirus in Europe.
Germany maintains entry limitation rules based on contagion data in countries of origin with a list of risk areas established by the Robert Koch Institute of Virology (RKI) of reference in Germany, which maintained Morocco on Tuesday and Algeria, among other countries.
Review every two weeks
The list will be reviewed every two weeks to see if it is appropriate to update it based on the criteria established by the EU and after evaluation and consultation with the European Commission and the relevant European agencies.
Travel restrictions for a third country on the list may be lift or reintroduce “totally or partially” in light of changes in some of the conditions and in the evaluation of the epidemiological situation.
That way, if the situation in a listed country quickly worsens, a decision must be made quickly.
The closure of the borders has at no time affected EU and Schengen citizens and their families, as well as third-country nationals who are long-term residents of the EU, health and scientific staff working against COVID- 19, people who transport goods, border workers and agricultural seasonal workers, and will continue to be so.