Diplomats, who were not allowed to discuss the matter before the 27 EU member states reached an agreement, have confirmed to CNN that the EU governments have received until lunchtime on Tuesday to agree on the list. from 15 countries that are allowed to enter.
China, where the virus originated, is on the proposed list of 15 nations. However, the EU will only offer entry to China on the condition of reciprocal agreements. The other 14 countries are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.
As widely expected, the United States, where the coronavirus is currently re-emerging, will not be on that list.
The list is included in a set of EU Council recommendations to member states, which establish criteria for countries to meet before their nationals are allowed to join the bloc and the methodology for meeting those criteria. This requires countries that are allowed entry to have equal or better coronavirus infection rates than the EU.
Border control is ultimately decided by each member state rather than at the EU level in Brussels. But EU officials hope that having the recommendations in place means that Member States will reopen their borders at the same level.
Europe closed its external border in March after the bloc saw Covid-19 infection rates grow exponentially.
The United States now has the highest number of confirmed infections and the highest number of deaths from Covid-19 of any country in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
Diplomats said it was "highly unlikely" that the framework would be changed any time soon, which would mean that a dramatic change in the US infection rate is required. The EU is expected to review the decision every two weeks. .
Member states are expected to approve the list and guidelines by qualified majority on Tuesday, rather than a unanimous decision.
A qualified majority requires that 15 of the 27 member states vote in favor. The guidelines are expected to be opaque and open to interpretation in some areas, as at least three member states expressed reluctance to open borders, diplomats said.
EU officials have quickly pointed out that decisions about who can and who cannot join the bloc are not political, but are based on the science that allows member states to keep their citizens safe. However, those officials are preparing for the reaction of the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who previously said very critical things about the EU and could see the decision as politically motivated.