The EU 27 member states on Tuesday agreed on a list of 15 countries whose citizens would be allowed to travel to European Union from July 1st.
But later on Tuesday Italy, which had earlier seemed in favour of reopening, announced it would not be lifting all restrictions on travel from outside Europe.
Unlike most European countries, Italy opted out of allowing unrestricted travel from these countries on the “safe list”. Though they may now be allowed to enter for non-essential reasons, Italy still requires residents of those countries to undergo quarantine on arrival.
The 15 non-EU countries on the “safe list” are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
The list of safe countries also now provisionally includes China, although certain conditions have to be met, but it does not include the US, Brazil, India or Russia.
Within hours of the EU's announcement, Italian authorities said the country would opt out of allowing unrestricted travel from these countries, and would be keeping the current quarantine rules in place for travellers coming from outside the bloc.
A statement from European Council on Tuesday read: “The Council today adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Travel restrictions should be lifted for countries listed in the recommendation, with this list being reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.
Countries like France and Germany have along with the Commission stressed the need for a “common and coordinated approach” and don't want individual states going it alone.
The Commission has also made it clear the continued restrictions after July 1st wouldn't apply to EU nationals, those from Schengen area countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland) or non-EU nationals and family members who have their main residence in Europe “regardless of whether or not they are returning home”.
The Council's statement said: “For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of people should be exempted from the restrictions:
- EU citizens and their family members
- long-term EU residents and their family members
- travellers with an essential function or need