Brussels, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- European Union member states on Sunday were fine-tuning details for the reopening of borders set to take place on 1 July after countries have been sealed in lockdowns since mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 27 member states are designing a plan to authorize arrivals from 20 non-EU countries which so far includes China, Canada, Australia and Thailand but excludes the United States, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic and with the largest global caseload of 2, 5 million infections and more than 125,000 deaths.
EU Ambassadors on Friday unsuccessfully tried to strike a deal on international travel prompting Croatia, the country that currently holds the EU presidency, to launch a consultation period which closed on Saturday at 6.00 pm.
No consensus had been reached by the end of the deadline meaning consultations continued on Sunday so that the draft agreement can be presented on Monday to seek the approval of member-states.
The situation did not change much during Sunday’s meeting although the plan is expected to get approval on Monday, sources from the Croatian presidency told Efe.
Another diplomatic source said states hoped to have the necessary majority to approve the list of countries that have been given the green light or banned from travel before 1 July.
Citizens of Australia, Algeria, Canada, China, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Rwanda are expected to be included on the list of countries with which EU borders will open.
Travelers from Russia, the most affected country in Europe with more than 627, 000 infections and 9,000 deaths, Brazil, the most affected in Latin America with 1.3 million infections and more than 57,000 deaths and the US will be banned from entering the bloc.
The majority of Latin American countries, which are now considered by the World Health Organization as the global epicenter of the pandemic with 25 percent of the global caseload, will also be blocked from entering.
The aim of the plan is to deploy a synchronized reopening of borders across the bloc and for EU members to lift restrictions on chosen countries simultaneously.