EU holds off decision on borders, Americans set to be excluded

By Philip Blenkinsop and Tracy Rucinski
BRUSSELS / CHICAGO (Reuters) - The countries of the European Union did not agree on Friday on a definitive "safe list" of countries whose residents could travel to the bloc from July, excluding the US, Brazil and Russia.
Ambassadors of the 27 EU members met on Friday afternoon to set criteria for granting quarantine access from next Wednesday.
A redrawn text from 10 to 20 countries was presented to them, but many said they needed to consult with their governments first, diplomats said. The list did not include the United States, Brazil, or Russia, said a diplomat.
Discussions continued overnight and EU countries should provide informal answers by Saturday evening, according to people familiar with the matter.
US passengers may be allowed to travel if they meet certain conditions, such as: B. Passing temperature tests, said two U.S. officials.
The European Commission had indicated that the block would first lift internal border controls and then gradually open to outsiders. However, the first step did not go according to plan.
Greece requires COVID-19 tests for arrivals from a number of EU countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, with self-isolation until the results are known.
The Czech Republic has announced that it will not accept tourists from Portugal, Sweden and part of Poland.
There is broad agreement that the block should only be open to people with a similar or better epidemiological situation, but there are questions about how a country will deal with the epidemic and the reliability of data.
A number of countries such as Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Laos have reported no cases in the past two weeks, according to the EU agency, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Based on the ECDC data for the two weeks to Thursday, a number of countries are clearly in a worse situation than the European Union.
These include the United States, Mexico, Brazil and much of Latin America, Russia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.
Despite pressure from U.S. airlines and unions, the White House has made no commitments to mandate security measures for fresh air travel after the pandemic. Talks between airlines and government officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, on Friday on temperature controls ended without agreement.
In a statement, Pence's office said the parties were also discussing "the best way to enable Americans to travel internationally safely again".
The Commission has proposed to authorize the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
However, according to ECDC data, the number of cases in Bosnia and Northern Macedonia could be too high.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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