EU towards reopening borders, yes to China, not to the USA


The presidency of the EU Council launched the written procedure on the recommendation approved on Friday on the reopening of the borders with some non-European countries starting from July 1st. This is learned from EU diplomatic sources. The deadline is set for tomorrow at noon.

There provisional list of countries with which to reopen borders as of Wednesday, that is the day after tomorrow, it includes, in addition to the People’s Republic of China (as long as it ensures reciprocity for the whole Union), also Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia , South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. In all these countries the epidemiological situation is similar or better than that of the EU. To approve the recommendation, which also contains the criteria according to which the countries are selected, a qualified majority is required (there is time until tomorrow at noon). Countries with which there are close relationships are absent from the list, primarily the USA, but also Brazil, Russia and India, in which the epidemiological situation is currently worse than the European one. Taiwan is also missing, despite having recorded only 7 deaths from Covid-19 since the outbreak and despite having some direct flights with some EU countries. When asked about the reasons for the exclusion of Taipei, EU diplomatic sources responded with a “no comment”.

The EU follows the ‘one China’ policy and has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but, says the European Commission, “supports Taipei’s participation in international organizations, especially when Taiwan’s participation is important for EU interests and for the global ones “.

To identify the third countries for which the current limitations on non-essential travel to the EU must be lifted, the Commission suggested that the Member States apply the methodology and criteria set out in the communication of 11 June. The criteria refer to the epidemiological situation, containment measures, including social distancing and the possibility of applying them also during the trip, as well as economic and social assessments.

As for the epidemiological situation, third countries should have a rate of new Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus infections lower than the European average (16 for every 100 thousand inhabitants) for fourteen days; a trend of contagions stable or decreasing compared to the 14 days preceding the data; an average total score relating to the Ihr (WHO International Health Regulations) greater than 70.

Anyhow, the list should be periodically reviewed, to assess the progress of the epidemiological situation. Furthermore, it should always be possible, in case of necessity, to reintroduce travel restrictions for a specific country, in the event that the conditions foreseen to be included in the list are no longer met, in particular if the epidemiological situation worsens.

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