EU reaches provisional deal on reopening borders — to fewer than 20 countries

EU diplomats Friday reached a provisional deal on the criteria to determine which non-EU counties to allow into the bloc when it opens its borders from July 1 — and the United States wouldn’t make the cut.

The diplomats decided to open up to countries that have a coronavirus infection rate that is equal to or lower than the EU average over the last two weeks per 100,000 inhabitants, three diplomats told POLITICO. In addition to the infection rate, Brussels will also evaluate if the trend has been increasing or decreasing, and look at a country’s handling of the epidemic and the reliability of data.

The first iteration of the list — which the Commission requested capitals finalize by July 1 — will include fewer than 20 countries, the diplomats said. The U.S. would not be on the list, one diplomat said.

Washington is in talks with European capitals and the EU on how to reopen busy transatlantic routes, but it did not feature on two earlier provisional lists EU diplomats drew up, seen by POLITICO. The initial lists had 47 and 54 countries.

The final list will be updated every two weeks to account for developments, the diplomats agreed.

National capitals have the authority to decide which non-EU citizens to let in, but the bloc hopes a coordinated approach could help the Continent’s recovery.

EU countries can give their consent in writing from Saturday evening and the criteria will be adopted if a qualified minority does not object.

Jacopo Barigazzi and Lili Bayer contributed reporting.

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