The EU carefully reopens to shortlisted third countries

Employment and Social Affairs

The European Union in gradually trying to reopen its external borders to third countries, after Covid19 caused major problem for economies and namely for aviation industry and tourism. It goes without saying that aviation industry and tourism abroad are two major victims of the 2020 pandemic, because their full recovery will be hard to be reached even in 2021.

This summer many Italians will spend their holidays in Italy because there is high uncertainty namely when it comes to quarantine rules and flight bookings. Other EU countries will do the same, while maybe the situation is slightly different for some Northern European State with non the same situation when it comes to the beaches. To understand the impact of Covid19 on tourism, it could be highlighted that new statistics in Spain show the coronavirus outbreak cost the country’s key tourism sector more than 15 billion euros in two months. Figures published in these days by Spain’s official statistics agency showed that in May, the number of tourist arrivals was zero.

The EU is thus working hard to arrive to a full recovery and to a “new normality”: while the “epochal” restrictions related to the freedom of movement within the Union has been overcome in June, whit a quite coordinate effort by the members State; but the situation in far more difficult when it comes to external border. And the situation in many countries, like US, Russia and Brazil, is far to be encouraging and not many Europeans think now to organize an holiday in those area.

The EU decided to act carefully and based on an insight of the epidemiological situation of each single country. On 30 of June The European Union Member States have finally approved a list of 15 countries, considered as safe due to their epidemiological situation related to the Covid19. The EU narrowed down the list to 15 countries, from 54 originally included. As of July 1, residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, are permitted to enter Europe reports.

However, travellers from these countries must first check with the EU country they wish to visit, as the Member States are permitted to exclude some of the countries from the list when it comes to who can enter their borders since the policy is not legally binding. Member states are not, however, legally obliged, to follow the recommendation. The list is to be updated every two weeks, as confirmed by the EU. For example, Hungary decided to move by their own way. Prime minister Viktor Orban asserted that Budapest will not comply with a EU recommendation to lift coronavirus travel restrictions for more countries outside the Union, citing risks to health as the main reasons for this choice. “We cannot currently implement the EU’s request to allow in citizens from non-EU countries, with the exception of Serbia,” Orban said in a Facebook video message. But lifting travel restrictions to more nations outside the EU “would go against the health care interests of the Hungarian people,” Orban said.

But also, other EU members have expressed reservations about lifting travel restrictions for countries that they deem still have too many coronavirus cases to consider them to be safe. Austria announced it would follow the EU recommendation, but not for Serbia and Montenegro. And Italian authorities said the country would opt out of the plan, keeping quarantine rules in place for travellers coming from outside the EU. “The global situation remains very complex,” stated Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza. “We must prevent the sacrifices made by Italians in recent months being in vain”. Thus Italy, one of the most hit country at the beginning of the pandemic but also strongly affected by the damage to the tourism industry, has decided to carry on with a careful approach by keeping the mandatory quarantine rule for all those arriving from a non-EU nation, even if they have passed through another internal Schengen country.

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