The European Council on Thursday added Israel to the list of third countries for which member states should gradually lift Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The decision followed a review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as of May 6 member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
– New Zealand
– South Korea
– China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity)
Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China: Hong Kong and Macao, subject to confirmation of reciprocity.
Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as EU residents for the purpose of the Council’s recommendation.
The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted were updated on February 2. They cover the coronavirus epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the available information and data sources. Reciprocity should also be taken into account on a case by case basis.
Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in the Council’s recommendation.
The list will continue to be reviewed every two weeks and, as the case may be, updated.
It is noted that the Council’s recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed.
According to the Council, 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.