EU discusses coronavirus travel bans as deadline approaches

European Commission officials have been working with member states to suggest that visitors can be considered safe since July 1, when the EU plans to reopen its borders.

However, the 27 member states have not yet agreed on the criteria to be used to prepare guidance for 104 countries where the EU has visa regulations, including the United States.

Speaking with CNN, EU diplomats insisted that the criteria will be based on health, not political.

New York Times Reported on Tuesday When Americans reopen their borders, they may not be able to go to the European bloc. The report said he saw draft lists of acceptable or unacceptable countries based on their coronavirus status.

However, multiple sources told CNN that they did not see the draft lists of certain countries.

“We did not set the final objective criteria, so the first country list was not written. It does not exist. We have precise data, but no list,” an EU official told CNN on Thursday.

“Objective criteria should be applied equally to a hundred or more third countries, so it was never about a country.”

The USA has the largest number of coronavirus deaths and infections in the world. According to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, at least 2,422,299 people were infected late in Thursday and 124,410 people died.

Coordinated approach

Discussions continued in the European capitals on Friday, ahead of the ambassadors’ meeting, such as how to address restrictions on EU member states, Brazil and non-EU countries with bilateral travel arrangements with an EU member country such as Brazil.

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Questions about how some countries’ test and monitoring regimes will be evaluated and the reliability of their data have also been raised.

US travelers' European ban will send humble message

Recommendations by the European Commission are not mandatory – decisions on how to open and open borders are important to individual states.

However, European Commission spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz said that EU member states should take a united approach when the borders are reopened.

“It is really important for the effectiveness of this travel restriction and the integrity of the Schengen area where member states are acting together on this matter,” he said. Said.

“We have seen a very strong political commitment from the member states to continue to act in a coordinated manner on this matter.”

When asked whether the US was on the list of countries that could be prevented from traveling to Europe earlier this week, an EU diplomat led CNN to the first point of the June 11 checklist, which will be published by the European Commission on what to look out for when allowing travelers. EU.

The first point on the checklist asks whether the country is “comparable in terms of the number of new infections, the tendency of new infections, and the test, whether it can be considered an average in the AB + area in a better epidemiological situation”. surveillance, contact tracking, containment, treatment and reporting.

A second EU diplomat insisted that the criteria discussed were not a political aspect.

“It’s just about health. Of course, you don’t see it as a political thing when one country is allowed in the list and the other doesn’t, but it’s a false representation of what we do. We want to open our borders, this is a positive step,” said the diplomat.

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“There are 27 countries that sit around the table and have very different views, they focus on objective criteria as the criteria must be applied in the same way.

“If you take the US, as I know, there has been a lot of attention since the New York Times article, if you look at the criteria exactly since June 11, we can’t open our US border, but it borders other countries as well.”

The diplomat hoped that progress could be made in the last talks until July 1.

“The envoys will meet this Friday and see how far they can go. I hope we get a little closer.”

US tariffs are not a factor

Reciprocity is another issue mentioned in the June 11 directives.

Earlier this year, the US severely restricted travel from large parts of Europe due to coronavirus concerns.
European chocolates, olives and 28 other products can be hit in new US tariffs with $ 3.1 billion

European Commission chief spokesman Eric Mamer, who responded to a reporter’s question Thursday, said that US actions to implement new tariffs on EU goods would not affect the negotiations.

“Our internal processes are clearly related to issues that are based on health criteria. Everything else is speculation that we will not get into what decisions the USA will take. And in any case, this is the internal process.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that the US is working on how best to reopen travel with European nations.

“It is important for the United States that Europeans have the capacity to return to the US. It is important for the Europeans to reconnect fully to the American economy, I think the leaders in these two places are at the Foreign Ministry briefing,” he said.

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Two EU officials told CNN that the options discussed include travel restrictions based on US geographic regions rather than an entire country ban, as some countries have higher infection rates than others.

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