The European Union has approved flights from 12 African countries into the region as it prepares to open its borders to international operations from July while excluding South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
According to schengenvisainfo.com, citizens from 54 countries will benefit from the reopening which is expected to happen by the beginning of July.
EU officials failed to agree on a common list of the countries that would definitely be banned from entering the block upon the border reopening but managed to create a list of the countries with a better epidemiological situation, the citizens of which will be able to enter Europe by the end of next week.
The same sources have also confirmed that citizens of Brazil, Qatar, the US and Russia will only be able to enter Europe at a later date when the epidemiological situation in these countries improves.
Nationals of the following countries are listed in this draft list:
8, Bosnia and Herzegovina
11, Costa Rica
13, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
34, New Zealand
39, Saint Lucia
41, South Korea
51, Vatican City
“The European Union has an internal process to determine from which countries it would be safe to accept travellers,” EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said last Thursday, adding that its decisions are “based on health criteria.”
On June 11, the Commission presented its recommendation on the reopening of internal Schengen borders on June 15, so that Europeans can travel within the borderless area freely, just as they did pre-pandemic.
At the same time, the Commission recommended that the Member States should start allowing third-country nationals to enter the EU starting from July 1, gradually and partially, based on the epidemiological situation in each third-country.
The Commission recommended the following objective criteria for the Member States, when drafting the list of countries, the citizens of which may visit the EU after July 1:
• epidemiological situation and coronavirus response in that country,
• the ability to apply containment measures during travel, an
• whether or not that country has lifted travel restrictions towards the EU.
Based on these conditions, the Commission recommended that the nationals of the six Western Balkan countries should be the first to benefit from the abolishment of travel restrictions, all of which are in the above list.