Updated | EU agrees on list of ‘safe countries’ to which to open external borders

EU agrees to reopen its borders to 14 countries, with possible addition of China, but US remains off the list

The EU is set to decide to which countries to reopen its external borders to, but the US will likely be left out
The EU is set to decide to which countries to reopen its external borders to, but the US will likely be left out

Updated at 3:37pm with EU agreement

The EU has announced a list of third countries which it will be reopening its external borders to, as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.

The 27 member states on Tuesday voted to reopen their borders to 14 proposed countries.

The “safe countries” are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The EU will also allow entry to citizens from China, but on the condition that a reciprocal agreement is reached.

Croatia, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, had initiated a written approval procedure for member states to agree on a list of countries.

Under the procedure, the member states will decided by qualified majority on the list.

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The US, Brazil and Russia - countries where the coronavirus is still spreading - have been excluded for the time being.

Non-essential travel to the EU has been blocked since mid-March. The EU-wide ban came after individual member states closed their national borders in the absence of a coordinated policy.

While border control will ultimately remain the prerogative of each member states, the EU is hoping that once the list is approved, individual members will reopen their borders to the same third countries in tandem.

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