The diplomats, who had not been allowed to discuss the raw material until the 27 EU member states had reached an agreement, confirmed to CNN that EU governments had been given until Tuesday lunch for agreement. on the list of 15 countries allowed for entry.
On the proposed list of 15 nations is China, where the virus was originally found. However, the EU only offers China’s entry on the condition of mutual arrangements. The other 14 countries are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.
As had been widely expected, the United States – where the coronavirus is in resurgence – will not be on that list.
The list is included in a set of recommendations from the EU Council to Member States, which set out criteria for countries to respond to before their nationals are allowed entry into the block and the methodology for meeting those criteria. This requires that countries allowed entry have coronavirus infection rates equal to or better than the EU.
Border control is ultimately decided by each member state rather than at an EU level in Brussels. But EU officials hope having the recommendations in place means member states will reopen their borders in lockstep.
Europe closed its external border in March after the bloc saw its rates of Covid-19 infection grow exponentially.
The United States now has the highest number of confirmed infections and the highest number of deaths caused by Covid-19 from any country in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University Resona Coronavirus Center.
Diplomats said it was “highly unlikely” that the picture would change at any time soon, which would mean a dramatic change in the U.S. infection rate if it were to be considered in any future decision. The EU plans to review the decision every two weeks.
Member States are expected to approve the list and lines by qualified majority on Tuesday rather than by unanimous decision.
A qualified majority requires that 15 of the 27 Member States vote in favor. The guidelines are expected to be opaque and open to interpretation in some areas, since at least three member states have expressed reluctance to open borders, diplomats said.
EU officials are ready to note that decisions on who and what cannot enter the bloc are not political, but based on science that allows member states to keep their citizens safe. These officials are, however, encouraged by the reaction of US President Donald Trump, who has previously said very critical things about the EU and could view the decision as a political motivation.