The list of safe countries now provisionally includes China, although certain conditions have to be met, but it does not include the US, Brazil, India or Russian Federation. It is reported by euronews. There are now 15 countries on the draft list for the border to be reopened.
France wants the European Union to give access only when it is reciprocated by other countries, while Spain is said to be keen to reopen the border with neighbouring Morocco.
In the first wave, residents of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay can travel to the EU.
The EU revealed its criteria was based on, among other things, states where the "number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)".
The EU imposed restrictions on non-essential travel to its 27 nations, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which are part of the Schengen open-borders area, in March to halt the spread of the virus.
But the final decision ultimately rests with member states because while the list has been agreed upon at a political level it is not legally binding.
While border control will ultimately remain the prerogative of each member states, the European Union is hoping that once the list is approved, individual members will reopen their borders to the same third countries in tandem.
Still, many people both inside and outside Europe remain wary of travel in the coronavirus era, given the unpredictability of the pandemic and the possibility of second waves of infection that could affect flights and hotel bookings.
Earlier this month the European Commission also stressed that reopening borders with non-EU states in the Western Balkans was a priority from 1 July.
However, it is not expected that member states will deviate from the recommendations in a direction that allows for more countries to be added to their lists. "If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied".