Diplomats, who are not authorized to discuss the matter before the EU’s 27 member states have signed an agreement with CNN, have been given EU governments until Tuesday lunchtime to agree on a list of 15 countries that have access.
China, where the virus originated, is on the proposed list of 15 countries. However, China offers access only on the basis of EU mutual arrangements. The other 14 countries are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
The list is included in a set of recommendations from the EU Council to Member States, which sets out the criteria that countries must meet before meeting their nationals and allowing them to meet those criteria. Countries allowed for admission should have coronavirus infection rates equal or better than the EU.
Border control ultimately determines each member state in Brussels rather than at the EU level. But EU officials hope the recommendations will mean that member states will reopen their borders in lockstep.
Europe closed its outer border in March after the Kovid-19 infection rates skyrocketed.
The United States now has the largest number of confirmed infections and the highest number of deaths due to Covid-19 in any country in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Diplomats say the framework is unlikely to change anytime soon, which means that any decision in the future will require a dramatic shift in the US infection rate. The EU is expected to review the decision every two weeks.
Member States are expected to approve the list and guidelines Tuesday by a qualified majority, rather than by unanimous decision.
An eligible majority must vote in favor of 15 of the 27 member states. Since at least three member states have been reluctant to open borders, the guidelines are expected to be transparent and open to interpretation in some areas, diplomats said.
Decisions about who can and will not enter the coalition are not political, but EU officials have pointed out that science is based on allowing member states to keep their citizens safe. Those officials are bracing for the reaction of US President Donald Trump, who has previously said many critical things about the EU, and sees the decision as politically motivated.