On Tuesday, New Zealand was listed among 15 "safe" countries named by the EU whose citizens would be permitted to visit the shared travel area.

New Zealand, Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay and China are the non-EU countries the bloc is opening its shared borders to on 1 July.

considered to have sufficiently dealt with Covid-19 as to make travel arrangements "safe".

The list which was decided on by all 27 EU member states was difficult to whittle down. While Germany and Denmark argued for a more cautious tack, while Portugal and Greece argued for more leniency to prop up economies heavily dependent on tourism.


Notably France - formerly the most popular tourist destination - has argued for reciprocity for travel agreements before it began lifting travel restrictions.

This means that China and potentially New Zealand citizens could be refused travel to Metropolitan France from the European space.

The list of countries will be reviewed every fortnight. The commission said that "rapid decision-making" would take place to remove countries from the list "if the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly."

Some EU bloc countries said they would not open borders without reciprocal agreements. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Some EU bloc countries said they would not open borders without reciprocal agreements. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Notably the US Brazil and Russia, which are suffering some of the worst recorded infection rates, are not on the list. According to the centre for mathematical modelling for infectious diseases (CMMID) 35 of 50 US states had an Rt rate of greater than 1, meaning the disease was spreading.

Meanwhile the former Soviet republic of Georgia was a surprise inclusion.

A "certain amount of geopolitics influenced the decision,"the BBC quoted an unnamed diplomat from a Northern state, who said that many eastern European countries felt strong ties to Balkan countries.

While Europe may be open to Kiwi travellers, the official advice from MFAT's SafeTravel.co.nz is still not to travel at this time.

Even as countries open their borders advice from the ministry is against international travel "due to the difficulty travellers are experiencing returning home."


Yesterday the prime minister Jacinda Ardern said that international travel was still "dangerous" and had the potential to undermine the country's "hard-won gains."

The prime minister also suggested returning New Zealanders pay for their own 14 days mandatory isolation, on return.