EU reopens to 15 countries, Italy keeps quarantine

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EU member states should reopen borders towards 14 non-EU countries and China, as long as the latter ensures full reciprocity, starting tomorrow. The recommendation and the list negotiated in Coreper last Friday by the permanent representatives were approved by written procedure, by qualified majority, with the favorable vote of Italy, which however decided to maintain the quarantine for non-Schengen arrivals.

The list of countries towards which the restrictions should be removed in addition to the People’s Republic of China (as long as it ensures reciprocity for the whole Union), it also includes 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 equal to or better than that of the EU. External borders remain closed for Important countries with which there are close ties, starting with the USA, but also the Brazil, Russia and India, because in these states the situation regarding Covid-19 is worse than that of the Union. The list will be reviewed every 14 days.

The criteria applied to select the countries with which to reopen the borders are primarily epidemiological. In particular, as of June 15, they must have recorded a number of new Covid-19 infections for 14 days, close to or less than the EU rate (16 per 100 thousand inhabitants); furthermore, the trend of new cases in the same period must be “stable or decreasing” compared to the previous 14 days. Furthermore, the country’s “overall” response to the pandemic is considered, taking into account the information available on “aspects such as contact tracking, testing, surveillance, containment, care, data reporting as well as the reliability of the information. available and data and, if needed, the average score for all dimensions of international health regulations. ” Account is also taken of the information provided by EU delegations abroad. The list is always subject to revision: “Quick decisions are expected if the situation in a third country worsens rapidly”.

In all cases, the decisions are up to the Member States: that of the Council is a recommendation. And reciprocity must always be taken into account. Furthermore, a member state “will not have to decide to remove restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU for a third country without first removing the restrictions in coordination with this recommendation,” reports the approved text. Citizens of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are regarded as EU citizens, for the purposes of the recommendation, which “should be implemented by all Member States at all external borders”.

I’m exempted from travel restrictions healthcare workers, researchers in the sector and those who work in the care of the elderly; frontier workers; seasonal farm workers; transport personnel; passengers in transit; passengers traveling for “imperative” family reasons. And yet, travel restrictions do not apply to seafarers; the people in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons; third-country nationals who travel for study purposes; highly qualified third-country workers, “if their employment is necessary from an economic perspective and if their work cannot be postponed or carried out abroad”. Diplomats, employees of international organizations and guests invited by them, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers, as well as civil protection personnel in the exercise of their respective functions are also exceptions.

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