The European Council has updated their original list of countries for which entry into individual EU/Schengen Member States should be allowed, according to a press release published by the Council on 16 July 2020.
According to the press release, Member States should “gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders,” and the following nationalities should now be considered for entry into Member States looking to open their borders to third-countries:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China (this is subject to confirmation of reciprocity, which is not yet known).
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican are considered to be EU residents in this circumstance and should not consider themselves to be third-country residents.
“Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as EU residents for the purpose of this recommendation,” the press release reads.
The criteria to determine which nationalities should be allowed into EU/Schengen Member States by recommendation of the European Council include the epidemiological situation, containment measures, and social and economic considerations for individual third-countries.
To be listed as a recommended third-country on the entry list, countries must meet the following criteria:
- The number of new COVID-19 cases within the last 14 days before evaluation must be lower than the EU-average per 100,000 residents.
- The country must have stable or decreasing new case developments over the allotted time period (the last 14 days before evaluation) in comparison to the 14 days prior to that.
- The overall response to COVID-19 by the country under evaluation. This takes into account things like testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting. It also takes into account the reliability of the information reported and the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR) if needed.
- Reciprocity will also be taken into account “on a case-by-case basis.”
The press release also notes that in countries where travel restrictions still apply, the following categories of travelers will be exempted from restrictions:
- EU citizens and their family members
- Long-term EU residents and their family members
- Travelers with an essential function within the EU
- Residents of Schengen Member States that are not EU Member States (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland)
The European Council’s recommendations are not legally binding for Member States to follow. For example, Malta has made their own list of nationalities to allow into Maltese territory, and other Member States have either shortened or lengthened their list of allowable nationalities.
The list of recommended countries will be re-evaluated every two weeks, after which there could be more (or less) countries named depending on what the European Council decides.