The EU list includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and China.
Portugal’s foreign minister, Augusto Santos Silva, has said that the list of countries with which the European Union has reopened external borders is also based on political criteria, which is why some African countries were excluded.
“We took part in that decision-making process, at the end of which a list emerged that always seemed too restrictive and not entirely technical,” the minister said to the press.
Santos Silva answered a question on the list of 15 countries approved last Tuesday by the EU Council, for which it was again allowed to resume not indispensable journeys to Europe, more than three months after the largest border closure in the history of the Union, motivated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The list includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and China, but not, for example, the Portuguese-language African countries (PALOP).
“I believe in decisions based on technical criteria, I believe in decisions based on political and political-diplomatic criteria but I run away from mixing one with the other criteria,” he said.
“And anyone who looks at that list can easily see that there are not only technical criteria because if there were only technical criteria, some African countries would be there, and there are not only political-diplomatic criteria,” he added.
In this sense, the Santos Silva explained that Portugal has taken a decision that is perfectly articulated with the EU by authorising travel to and from Portuguese-language countries, with a limitation to Brazil, from where only flights from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are admitted, and countries where there are large Portuguese communities such as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Venezuela, Canada and South Africa.