The European Union agreed on Monday to open its borders to a list of 15 countries on July 1st, which have reciprocal deals with the EU and are considered safe due to their epidemiological situation. Here's a helpful breakdown from CNN on the new EU external border recommendations, set to take effect on July 1st:
Which countries are on the list?
The list of countries included in the recommendations are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay. China, where the virus originated, is not on the initial list of 14, but the EU is willing to place it on that list if the Chinese government reciprocates and allows EU citizens to enter its borders.
If your country isn't on the list, are you officially banned from entering the EU?
Officially, no. The European Union does not have the control of any member state's national borders. However, it is not expected that any country will deviate from the recommendations towards allowing in a larger group of nations and are more likely to restrict travel from countries on the list.
If your country isn't on the list, but you're a resident of a country that is on the list, can you still travel to the EU?
According to the guidance, "residence in a third country for which the restrictions on nonessential travel have been lifted should be the determining factor (and not nationality)."
Can you travel via another country to get around rules?
No, for the same reason as above. You will be judged by your place of residence, rather than where you are traveling from.
Will this be enforced by airlines and airports?
The EU council stressed that "member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation," meaning this will vary from country to country. The best thing to do hear is contact your national foreign office or embassy in the country you want to travel to.
How flexible are the recommendations?
This really depends on how you read it. The criteria and recommendations for implementation are very clear, but there is an annex in the recommendations which covers travelers with "an essential function or need". These include everything from seasonal agricultural workers to diplomats. If you want to check for yourself, scroll to page 10 of this document
When will the list be updated?
The list expected to be reviewed every two weeks, however EU diplomats stressed to CNN that the criteria and methodology are "extremely unlikely" to change. This means that in order for a country to be deemed safe, its reported Covid figures need to be below that of the EU's for the past 14 days.
How will this affect travelers from the UK?
Travelers from the UK are included in what the EU refers to as its "EU+ area," and will be included if the UK's governments decides it wants to align. The "EU+ area" includes all member states of its so-called Schengen visa area (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania), as well as the four Schengen Associated States. It also includes Ireland and the United Kingdom if they decide to align.
Are there any exemptions?
Travelers in countries that did not make the list can still enter if they fall under the following exemptions: EU citizens or family members of an EU citizen; long-term EU residents or family members; those with an "essential function or need," such as diplomats, healthcare workers or certain agricultural workers.
full EU document: https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-9208-2020-INIT/en/pdf