The European Council has updated its list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted, according to an announcement published by the Council.
The countries that are mentioned in the announcement include:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, including the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao. This is subject to confirmation of reciprocity.
The travel restrictions mentioned are for bans and restrictions on non-essential reasons for travel, such as tourism and business.
The lifting of travel restrictions for the aforementioned countries are subject to each individual Member State’s own discretion.
The Council is recommending that restrictions be lifted by Member States from 28 January forward. They also recommend that it be a gradual process, rather than a sudden move.
The Council also recommends residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican should be considered to be EU residents for the purposes of this recommendation.
Japan has been removed from the list of epidemiologically safe third countries as of the release of this recommendation from the Council.
The EU first implemented travel restrictions on 17 March 2020 to restrict or ban all non-essential travel into the EU or Schengen Area. The restrictions were then extended from 8 April 2020 until 8 May 2020. Restrictions were later extended until 30 June 2020.
On 1 July 2020, the Council began making a running list of epidemiologically safe third countries, whose citizens could be allowed into the EU or Schengen Area. The list has since been updated every two weeks.
It is still unclear when travel restrictions as a whole will be lifted.