Prague, June 29 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will reduce the list of safe countries on which the EU is to agree today, selecting about ten non-EU states for its own purposes, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats, CSSD) said today.
Petříček said the Czech Republic will take into account if the selected countries are open to Czech citizens. The EU will select roughly 15 countries and the list will take effect from Wednesday.
The Foreign Ministry stated that it considers the countries of the West Balkans region its priority.
Petříček emphasised that the Czech Republic has called for the EU to take a joint approach to selecting the third countries to which it wants to reopen its borders so that the situation does not get more complicated for Czech citizens.
“We insisted for practical reasons, for Czech travelers going to Tunisia, one of the Asian countries, or Turkey or other countries, that the rules are the same no matter if they fly from Prague, Vienna, or Berlin,” Petříček said.
According to Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek, representatives of EU member countries agreed on a preliminary list of roughly 15 countries that are safe for travel and they will finalize the list later today.
The member countries will be able to shorten the list of countries, which the Czech Republic plans to do.
“We have a basic key to how to approach it, which is reciprocity. If a specific country acts the same towards Czech citizens, if it allows them in and also under what circumstances,” Smolek said.
Another factor will be the country’s relevance from the point of view of mutual tourism potential as well as the capabilities of the Foreign Ministry to provide consular services in that specific country.
Petricek said that apart from the West Balkans countries, the Czech list will include Australia and New Zealand.
The representatives of the ministry did not want to present a final version of the list before the EU agrees on it.
Travel from third countries into the EU is limited due to the novel coronavirus pandemic at the moment. Czechs can travel to some countries, if that country’s rules allow it, but they must submit a negative coronavirus test or enter quarantine on their return. Such a regime applies to, for example, Serbia.