European Union to decide to which 'safe countries' external borders will be opened

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionA tour through Europe's eerily quiet airports

The proposed "safe countries" are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisian and Uruguay.

The EU will also lift travel restrictions for Chinese residents on July 1, on the condition that Beijing reciprocates the action.

France wants the European Union to give access only when it is reciprocated by other countries, while Spain is said to be keen to reopen the border with neighbouring Morocco.

Croatia, which now holds the EU's rotating presidency, requested that countries offer feedback by Saturday at 1600 GMT, with hopes the matter could then be put to a vote among the 27 member states.

In March, President Donald Trump suspended all people from Europe´s ID check-free travel zone from entering the US, making it unlikely now that USA citizens would qualify to enter the EU. The list is expected to contain up to 15 countries that have virus infection rates comparable to those in the EU.

The EU has released two lists, one for those that will be accepted, and one for those who will not.

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The decree, which will be reassessed every two weeks, signals that the ban disrupting both business and leisure travel across the Atlantic won't be lifted until US authorities control the spread of the deadly virus.

In a widely-panned Oval Office address in March, Donald Trump announced a partial European travel ban as a way to protect Americans from the coronavirus outbreak.

Countries like Germany and Spain, horrified by the devastation of COVID-19, wanted to play it safe. However, today, June 29, a meeting was held in Brussels, at which they made a decision to revise the list and reduced it to 15 countries. They pushed to have a short list of countries with low infection rates, a good health service and reliable health data.

United Kingdom citizens, as well as the family members, are exempted from the temporary travel restriction, and they will be treated in the same way as European Union nationals until the end of the Brexit transition period, on December 31, 2020.

Earlier this month the European Commission also stressed that reopening borders with non-EU states in the Western Balkans was a priority from 1 July.

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