In the last hours, through a statement, the Council of the European Union indicated that after a review on the recommendation for the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU, an update of the list of countries was made that they will no longer have impediments to enter the old continent, including Colombia, along with Argentina, Australia and Canada.
The Council indicated in its letter that the lifting of these restrictions will also apply to residents of countries such as: Bahrain, Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and China, the latter in the event that the measure is reciprocal.
Similarly, he argued that restrictions should be lifted gradually for travel from Hong Kong and Macao, special administrative regions of China.
As for the category of entities and territorial authorities not recognized as a State by at least one Member State, restrictions should also be gradually lifted, citing, for example, the case of Taiwan.
On the other hand, in the statement the EU also specified that for the purposes of this recommendation, residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican must be considered assimilated to EU residents.
At the end, he explained that the criteria for determining the third countries for which the travel restrictions in force should be lifted were updated on May 20, 2021, which are given by the epidemiological situation and general response to covid-19, as well as the reliability of the information and available data sources. In addition, the reciprocity criterion is also taken into account, case by case.
He also stressed that for this recommendation, the countries associated with Schengen will be considered as European residents: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
This list is reviewed every two weeks and takes into account the changing circumstances of the pandemic, with which the corresponding changes of said list of countries are fixed.
Regarding the context of these changes, the European Union reported that on June 30, 2020, the Council adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU. That recommendation included an initial list of countries for which Member States should start lifting travel restrictions at the external borders.
On May 20, the Council adopted the Recommendation for amendment to respond to vaccination campaigns ongoing by introducing certain exemptions for vaccinated persons and by simplifying the criteria for lifting restrictions applicable to third countries.
At the same time, the amendments take into account the potential risks posed by new variants by establishing an “emergency brake” mechanism to react quickly to the appearance of a variant of interest or a variant of concern in a third country.
The Council Recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the Member States remain responsible for the application of its content, and can, in full transparency, decide to only progressively lift the travel restrictions applicable to the countries on the list.
No Member State should decide to lift travel restrictions to non-listed third countries before it has been decided in a coordinated manner.