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Bangladesh citizens are highly unlikely to be allowed to enter the European Union area from outside as the regional group is set to reopen external borders on July 1 for citizens of 54 countries, a list that excludes Bangladesh.

The Croatian EU presidency has, however, given member states to take a position on a list of countries likely to be allowed to enter the Schengen area as some member states has asked for more time to decide.

A vote among the EU member states is likely to be held on the matter on Monday, according to The Brussels Times.

The EU is working on two lists — countries to be forbidden and countries to be allowed — after setting a set of several epidemiological criteria for assessing eligibility in the list of entry.

A country should possess a rate of new cases of COVID-19 close to or below 16 per 1,00,000 inhabitants (average in the EU) over the last 14 days. 

The EU is working on a draft list of countries for allowing citizens of some countries to travel in the EU on July 1, according to the Euronews.

The countries are — Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, the Vatican, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zambia.

China is added to the list on condition of reciprocity to let EU travellers in.

The list for entry does not include the United States and represents a major blow to the American image globally. 

The citizens of Brazil, Qatar, the US and Russia might be allowed to enter the EU zone at a later date when the epidemiological situation in these countries improves.

‘The European Union has an internal process to determine from which countries it would be safe to accept travellers,’ EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said on Thursday, adding that its decisions were ‘based on health criteria’.

The EU authorities are also keeping an eye on the trend of stability or decrease in new cases as well as measures a country has put in place to fight against the pandemic, such as testing practices. 

A senior Bangladesh diplomat said that the government is in touch with the EU authorities over access into the member states of the Schengen Group.

‘We, however, could not expect much as COVID-19 situation in Bangladesh is not good compared to the EU mark,’ said the official with reference to the World Health Organisation data.

In Bangladesh, attack rate as on June 22, is 67.9 per one million and all 64 districts with the total population of 17,03,06,468 people have confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to WHO situation report 17.

Restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU countries, which has been banned since mid-March, is expected to be gradually lifted from July 1 allowing visitors from countries with an epidemiological situation similar to that of the EU to enter the EU territory.

Although the border controls remain under the jurisdiction of each member state, the EU, due to the free movement in the Schengen area, strives to coordinate the question on travellers from outside the block during the crisis as much as possible.

News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net

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