‘Not certain’ that Belgium will obey EU recommendations on borders
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    ‘Not certain’ that Belgium will obey EU recommendations on borders

    Credit: Belga
    Credit: Belga

    Despite the EU recommending its members to start lifting the travel restrictions for 15 countries, it is not guaranteed that Belgium will open its borders to all of them.

    Belgium is going for a “very prudent” reopening of the borders, and could decide to keep its borders closed to travellers from certain countries, even though they have been white-listed by the EU.

    “[The full list] is being discussed, but it is not certain yet,” Arnaud Gaspart, deputy Foreign Affairs spokesperson, told The Brussels Times.

    “Meetings are ongoing between the different stakeholders, such as the Department of the Interior, Public Health, and Foreign Affairs, as well as different experts,” Gaspart said, adding that an official decision should be announced by 7 July.

    “We were of course part of the decision at European level, but at the Belgian level, we are still discussing all the details,” he said.

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    Despite the EU recommendation, it is ultimately up to the members to set up their own timeline to (partly) adopt the EU decision, as they are the ones that need to put everything in place.

    The government is currently still evaluating everything, and experts are also looking into allowing Belgians to take non-essential journeys to these same countries as well, according to the Foreign Affairs department.

    As of Wednesday, France has provisionally approved about half the countries on the list, according to Gaspart, even though this might still change. “The adoption of the decision depends on the country. It is not one-size-fits-all,” he said.

    On Tuesday, the EU recommended the lifting of travel restrictions for Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China is also on the list, but is subject to confirmation of reciprocity.

    The United States, Brazil, Russia, Israel and Turkey have not been included on the list of safe countries as they do not meet the necessary criteria and conditions yet. However, the list will be reviewed and could be updated every two weeks.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times