BRUSSELS, June 30: The European Union Council of Ministers on Tuesday adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU.
The Council in a statement said that based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from 1 July EU member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
It also recommended China, but subject to confirmation of reciprocity.
The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the coronavirus situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations.
For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of people should be exempted 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 listed in the recommendation.
The council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the EU member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed, it said.
An EU member state should not decide to lift the travel restrictions for non-listed non-EU countries before this has been decided in a coordinated manner.
This list should be reviewed every two weeks and may be updated by the council, as the case may be, after close consultations with the European Commission and the relevant EU agencies and services, it noted.
On 11 June, the European Commission had recommended a gradual lifting approach of the restriction on non-essential travel into the EU as of 1 July.
Discussions have since then taken place between EU member states on the criteria and methodology to be applied.(KUNA)