The EU’s draft list of countries permitted into the region was based upon countries’ ability to manage the COVID-19 crisis, as well as reciprocity.
Rabat – After months of preventing travelers from entering the Schengen area, the European Union prepares to open its external borders on July 1 to 14 selected countries, including Morocco.
The draft list released on June 26 included Morocco among four African states that will enjoy travel into the Schengen borders. The other African countries counted are Tunisia, Algeria, and Rwanda.
Additionally, travelers from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, New Zealand, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, and Uruguay will be welcomed into the European countries.
EU officials determined the list based upon epidemiological criteria including the rate of new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days relative to the Union’s average (close to or below 16 per 100,000 inhabitants). Countries should also demonstrate stable and downward trends of cases, along with measures taken by individual countries to prevent the spread of the virus.
Originally, the EU slated 51 countries to be considered for approved travel. However, after careful consideration of specific-country data, the list narrowed significantly.
In the same vein, country reciprocity has also encouraged the EU to cut countries from their list.
China, who has managed to maintain relative control over the virus, was originally pre-selected for European travel privileges. However, several member states opposed the inclusion, expressing concerns over China’s unwillingness to reciprocate open borders and concluding that the one-way gesture could prove to be “problematic.”
World leaders have repeatedly recognized Morocco for its impressive handling of the global pandemic. Earlier this month, the World Bank highlighted the North African country for its effective response. As well, EU officials and the African Union have praised Morocco for its admirable ability to control the unprecedented public health crisis.
The Schengen borders closed on March 17 in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. In early July, EU countries began slowly opening their borders to neighboring countries.
The final list of external countries permitted inside the Schengen region is expected to be released this evening and is subject to changes depending on the evolution of public health.