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    Belgian border closed to non-Europeans until 7 July

    Credit: Belga/Eric Lalmand

    Belgium will not open its borders to travellers from the 15 white-listed countries before 7 July, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs Philippe Goffin.

    The preparations for the borders to reopen safely will take “at least until 7 July,” Goffin said on Wednesday.

    On Tuesday, the EU recommended its member states to start lifting the travel restrictions for the citizens of 15 countries, whose inhabitants would again be allowed to make non-essential trips to the EU from 1 July.

    Experts from the relevant government services are now looking at how the Belgian borders can be “prudently” reopened for travellers from these countries, and how Belgians, in turn, can go there. The preparations would take another week, according to Goffin.

    However, even if the borders reopen from 7 July, it is still “not certain” that travellers from all white-listed countries will be allowed to enter Belgium.

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    Following the EU’s recommendation on Tuesday, Belgium has immediately extended the list of authorised essential journeys.

    Students, highly qualified staff whose jobs cannot be done remotely, people attending meetings of international organisations and sailors will be added to the list of people who can travel.

    Nationals of third countries who are legally staying in the EU can also once again travel freely throughout the EU, and thus also in Belgium.

    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.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times