The European Council has updated its list of third countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted, according to a press release published by the Council.
According to the press release, the Council has added Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the list. This would mean that the Council recommends that Member States lift travel restrictions for people coming from these countries.
The new list includes the following third countries:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity.
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican are considered to be EU citizens by the Council’s recommendations and therefore are not included on a list of third countries. This extension also includes Schengen Member States that are not a part of the EU, including Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
The Council makes their decisions for which third countries to lift travel restrictions based on the epidemiological situation in each country, as well as the country’s response to Covid-19 overall, and the reliability and availability of accurate data.
The Council’s recommendations are not legally binding for Member States to follow.
Most Member States still do not follow the Council’s recommendations and are acting in an uncoordinated manner when creating and enforcing Covid-19 travel restrictions, despite repeated calls from the Council to begin coordinating their actions.
The Council has been maintaining its list of third countries since 30 June 2020. The list is updated every two weeks or as needed and will continue to be updated until authorities are finally willing to return their borders to their pre-pandemic status.