PAX was talking about it on a conditional basis yesterday. But now, it's official: the Council of the European Union is lifting travel restrictions for residents of fifteen countries, including Canada, as of July 1st.
The Council adopted a recommendation on Tuesday (June 30th) on the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel in the European Union.
On the basis of the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, travel restrictions should therefore be lifted at the external borders for Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New- Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
China is conditionally on the list, subject to confirmation of reciprocity. This list of countries will be revised and updated every two weeks.
It is mentioned that residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as residents of the EU for the purposes of this recommendation.
As expected, the United States did not make the safe list.
"Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada"
However, it should be recalled that, while the EU lifts travel restrictions for Canadians, the Government of Canada, for its part, still advises its citizens to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada as well as any cruise trip, until further notice.
The criteria for determining the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures , including physical removal, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively.
With regard to the epidemiological situation, the listed third countries must meet the following criteria, in particular:
- the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as of June 15, 2020);
- the stable or decreasing trend of new cases during this period compared to the previous 14 days;
- the overall response to COVID-19 taking into account the information available, including aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, processing and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information, etc. .
"Reciprocity must also be taken into account"
The Council of the European Union specifies that reciprocity must also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.
For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply - as is currently the case in Canada - the following categories of people should be exempt from the restrictions:
- EU citizens and their family members
- long-term EU residents and their family members
- travellers with an essential function or need, as indicated in the recommendation.
- The countries associated with Schengen (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland).
The Council of the European Union mentions that its recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the Member States remain responsible for the implementation of the content of the recommendation.
However, a Member State should not decide to lift travel restrictions for unregistered third countries until this has been decided in a coordinated manner.
This list of third countries should be reviewed every two weeks and could be updated by the Council, as appropriate, after close consultations with the Commission and the relevant EU agencies and services following an assessment based on the above criteria.
Travel restrictions can be lifted totally or partially or reintroduced for a specific third country already registered depending on the evolution of certain conditions and, therefore, on the assessment of the epidemiological situation.
If the situation in a listed third country deteriorates rapidly, rapid decision-making must be applied.
On March 16th, the Commission adopted a communication recommending a temporary restriction of all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU for one month. EU heads of state or government agreed to implement this restriction on 17 March. The travel restriction was extended for a further month respectively on April 8th 2020 and May 8th 2020.
On June 11th, the Commission adopted a communication recommending the further extension of the restriction until 30 June 2020 and setting out an approach for a gradual lifting of the restriction on non-essential travel into the EU as of 1 July 2020. Discussions have since then taken place between member states on the criteria and methodology to be applied.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!