From which non-EU countries can you now travel to France?
The EU has shortened its list of countries accepted for non-essential travel to the bloc, with the US and South Africa still among those that are not included.
The European Commission published a list of 15 non-EU countries on July 1 that would no longer be subject to restrictions on non-essential travel into EU countries, with the list set to be reviewed every two weeks.
On July 15, Serbia and Montenegro were removed from its approved list of third-countries (outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland, and the UK during the transition period) deemed safe with regard to the Covid-19 epidemic – and no new countries were added.
According to Schengenvisainfo, a website giving information on travel to Europe, “travel from the United States was not even part of the discussions, mainly due to the sharply increasing number of Coronavirus cases all across the US.”
The countries on the EU’s revised list are:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China has been approved in principle, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
The requirement for admission to the list is that the country should have close to or below the EU average number of Covid-19 cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants.
The country should also be displaying a trend of fewer new cases over the same 14 day period, and in general should demonstrate having a good overall response to the virus such as good practice in testing, surveillance, contact tracing and accurate data.
The latest information from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows the EU average number of new cases per day over the past 14 days as 12. The latest data from John Hopkins University in the US shows that in the past week the US’ average number of new cases is over 60,000.
This suggests that the US is still a long way from meeting the EU’s criteria for being placed on the list of countries permitted to travel to the bloc for non-essential reasons.
The Council will review the list again at the end of July, but it is unlikely to feature countries such as the US, South Africa or Russia, which continue to report a high number of cases of the virus.
Certain people travelling from countries not on the list are exempt from the restriction on travelling to the EU. For example, EU citizens with their spouses and children may come to France from these countries if they are residents of France or are travelling through France to go home. Similarly, third-country citizens may do the same if they are legal residents of France or an EU country.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has also presented its latest short-term measures aimed at strengthening EU preparedness for Covid-19 outbreaks.
The recommended measures include further testing, contact tracing and public health surveillance, greater access to personal protective equipment, supporting vulnerable groups and reducing the burden of seasonal influenza, among others.
Margaritis Schinas, the vice-president for Promoting the European Way of Life, said in a press release that the new set of measures are there to try to prevent further possible outbreaks of the virus.
“Drawing on the lessons of the past months we are planning ahead to avoid improvisation, reinforcing our preparedness on all fronts, preserving the single market and its main freedoms, and facilitating the path towards economic and social recovery across the EU,” he wrote.
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