Borders will be open to only a limited number of countries. | Agencies

The European Union is expected to confirm on Monday that external borders will be opened from July 1 but only to countries deemed to be safe.

Diplomatic sources in Croatia, which currently holds the EU presidency, say that discussions are continuing on establishing common epidemiological criteria for opening borders to countries with a level of contagion similar to or below the EU average.

Brussels is following a principle of joint agreement by EU countries based on criteria such as "health status, ability to apply containment measures during travel and reciprocity considerations". Discussions by member states have taken into account whether they have enough information to get a real picture of the epidemiological situation in some countries and the need to ensure that such data is reliable.

This situation revolves around similarity to the European average in terms of the number and trend of new infections and also countries' responses to the pandemic, e.g. the level of vigilance, testing, contact tracing and publication of virus data.

It is understood that the following are on the list of countries which are considered to be safe: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. Excluded, therefore, are Russia, the US and all of Central and South America, with the exception of Uruguay.