These diplomats were not allowed to discuss the matter before the EU’s 27 member states reached an agreement. They have confirmed to CNN that they will not allow EU governments to reach an agreement on the list of 15 allowed countries until Tuesday lunchtime.
Among the 15 countries proposed, China is the country of origin of the virus. However, the EU allows China to join only under conditions of reciprocal arrangements. The other 14 countries are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.
The list is included in a series of recommendations made by the Council of the European Union to member states, which lists the standards that countries must meet before allowing their nationals to enter the EU and the methods to meet the standards. This requires that the rate of coronavirus infection in countries where entry is allowed is equal to or higher than in the EU.
Border control is ultimately decided by each member state, not at the EU level in Brussels. But EU officials hope that these recommendations are in place, meaning that member states will reopen the border in unison.
After the EU saw its Covid-19 infection rate increase exponentially, Europe closed its external border in March.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, the United States is now the country with the largest number of infections and deaths confirmed by Covid-19 in any country in the world.
Diplomats say that it is highly unlikely that this framework will be changed in the short term, which means that if the infection rate of the United States is to be taken into account in any future decision, a substantial change will be required. The EU is expected to review the decision every two weeks.
Member States are expected to adopt the list and guidelines by a qualified majority on Tuesday, rather than by unanimous decision.
A qualified majority vote requires 15 of the 27 member states to vote in favor. Diplomats said that since at least three member states expressed no reluctance to open borders, the guide is expected to be opaque and easy to explain in some areas.
EU officials quickly pointed out that the decision about who can and cannot enter the EU is not political, but based on science that allows member states to protect the safety of their citizens. Nonetheless, these officials are still preparing for the reaction of US President Donald Trump. Donald Trump had previously spoken very critically to the European Union, and may consider this decision politically motivated.