The European Council on Thursday updated the list of third countries for which EU member states should lift travel restrictions for non-essential travel, taken due to the coronavirus (Covid-19), at their external borders.
As noted by the Council and based on epidemiological data, as from January 28 member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries: Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity).
The Council recommended that travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, subject to confirmation of reciprocity.
According to the Council, residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as EU residents for the purpose of the specific recommendation.
Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) should also take part in the recommendation.
The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations.
“They are applied cumulatively. Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis,” the Council said.
The list of third countries for which EU member states should lift travel restrictions is reviewed every two weeks and, as the case may be, updated.
It is reminded that the Council’s recommendation is not a legally binding instrument.
Moreover, the Council notes that a Member State should not decide to lift the travel restrictions for non-listed third countries before this has been decided in a coordinated manner.