For a month now, news has appeared in the media from time to time about the risk of Ukraine being removed from the "green" list of the European Union. Today, another one has appeared - according to journalist Ricard Jozwiak, the ambassadors of the European Union countries at a meeting on November 5, 2021, decided to exclude Ukraine from the countries on the "green" list. The decision will be formalized early next week.
And there are enough reasons for this - after all, at the end of November, a hard lockdown was established in most regions of Ukraine due to the critical situation with the coronavirus pandemic. According to the latest WHO data, Europe is at the epicenter of a pandemic, with Russia, Ukraine, and Romania becoming the leaders in the growth in the number of infections and deaths.
We will tell you what the "green" list of the European Union means, how an exception from it will appear on travel for Ukrainians, and how to check the rules of entry to each individual country.
What does "green" list mean?
The European Union has introduced a "color" zoning system to save the summer tourist season and the economies of the southern EU countries, which depend on holidaymakers from other countries.
The colors - red (added in January), orange, yellow and green - represent high, medium, and low-risk zones in the block. The system restricts travel to and from areas with high infection rates.
When deciding to include a non-EU country on the green list, the following criteria are taken into account:
- no more than 75 new cases of Covid-19 per 100 thousand inhabitants in the last 14 days;
- a stable or decreasing trend in new cases during this period compared to the previous 14 days;
- more than 300 tests per 100,000 inhabitants performed in the last 7 days, if data are available at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC);
- no more than 4% of positive tests among all tests for Covid-19 conducted in the previous 7 days, if data is available for ECDC;
- the nature of the virus present in the country (whether strains of interest or concern have been identified);
- the country's response to Covid-19: surveillance, contact tracing, localization, treatment and reporting, and information reliability.
The progress in vaccination of the population against the virus is also taken into account.
If a country is on the Safe Green List, it means that all its citizens, regardless of vaccination status, can carry out in the EU for any purpose, including tourism.
Those allowed to enter the EU may still be subject to health-related measures such as testing and quarantine. All additional restrictions are set by the countries themselves because the EU decision is only advisory in nature.
The exclusion from the "green" list is temporary because the EU Council reviews the situation every two weeks. Ukraine was included in the list of the "green" zone of the EU on July 14, 2021.
What will happen after the expulsion
After excluding Ukraine from this list, this will not mean the loss of visa-free travel, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba explained earlier. The temporary ban will only apply to recreational travel.
If a country is not included in the EU green zone, then you can go there only if you can prove the real need for the trip: study, work, family restoration, etc. That is, no tourism. At the same time, the official website of the EU added that EU countries can lift travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. There you can also check the list of vaccines with which you can travel to EU countries, as well as instructions on how to generate an EU Digital Certificate.
The decision on whether to let Ukrainians in and according to what rules will be made by each country separately. For example, even during the time of severe restrictions, Croatia ignored all EU rules, and Greece opened to Ukrainians in the spring. Therefore, it is likely that some countries will be open, but with compliance with requirements like a PCR test, a certificate of recovery.
Foreign Minister Oleg Nikolenko said that even if the EU decides to remove Ukraine from the list, the country will still be able to return to it if the epidemiological situation improves. Also, countries are in no hurry to restrict travel for non-greens, as was the case at the very beginning of the pandemic.
"The final decision on the permission or restriction of one or another type of travel of citizens of Ukraine, each participating country makes separately at the national level. The experience of some of our neighbors, which in previous weeks have already been excluded from the EU green list, shows that one should not expect complete border closures like last year," Nikolayenko noted.
How to check the entry rules
EU colored lists are only guidelines. Each European country decides for itself whether to listen to them or not and also often adds its own conditions. Therefore, it is important to check the rules of entry in official sources:
MFA card https://tripadvisor.mfa.gov.ua/ - here you can find information about the mode of entry for tourists and those who travel abroad to study or work, whether you need a PCR or a Covid certificate. Information about transit travel is also collected.
IATA (International Air Transport Association) provides tourists with an interactive map with entry rules.
The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Migration Service of the country where you plan to fly.