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EU list for ‘safe travel destinations’ amid coronavirus pandemic excludes Turkey

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The EU has decided that from Wednesday EU borders will be reopened to citizens from 15 non-EU countries, including Canada, Morocco and Australia, but not the US, Turkey, Brazil or Russia, according to BBC.

China is on the list, but subject to a reciprocal agreement, still pending.

The unanimous decision by the European Council is not legally binding, so states can choose not to open up to all those countries.

Diplomats spent five days debating the list, amid varying pandemic concerns.

The so-called “safe travel destinations” are, besides China: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The UK and four other non-EU states — Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway — are automatically included as “safe.”

The BBC correspondent in Brussels says there was intense lobbying by representatives of the US, Russia and Turkey to get included on the list.

Turkish ministers will visit Germany in an attempt to change Berlin’s stance on travel restrictions with Turkey.

The Hungarian government is understood to have lobbied for Serbia’s inclusion. Spanish officials say they requested that Morocco be on the list, provided there was an agreement of reciprocity.

Denmark and Austria were among several member states arguing for the number of countries to be fewer than 15. But in the end, it was adopted unanimously by member states.

Each state will have to announce when it intends to start readmitting citizens from some or all of those countries. The EU list will be updated every two weeks.

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