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The EU is reopening its borders – but perhaps not for Americans

Europe is building defenses against China's acquisition of key industries
Barbara C. Arroyo

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.

As widely expected, the US – which the coronavirus is currently rebounding – is not on the list.

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.

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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.

However, as another EU The diplomat previously explained to CNN, “Sure, you can look at politics as not being on the list, when one country is allowed and another country is not allowed”, but stressed that “it’s all about health.”

About the author

Barbara C. Arroyo

Barbara C. Arroyo

I'm a writer, editor and newsroom leader working at the intersection of tech and media, editorial and product, journalism and management. I am driven to transform our industry for the future, develop and mentor our people, build compassionate and innovative organizational cultures, and put readers and communities at the center of it all. I also have a love of storytelling and creative work, and refuse to pick one or the other.

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