EU ambassador to Kuwait Christian Tudor and Kuwait’s assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Europe, ambassador Walid Al Khubaizi. Image Credit: Al Rai

Abu Dhabi

Kuwait has threatened to apply the principle of “reciprocity” in dealing with citizens of EU countries, after a draft list of countries, whose citizens will be able to enter Europe when borders reopen on July 1, excluded Kuwaitis and citizens of other GCC countries, Kuwaiti media reported.

Kuwait’s assistant minister of Foreign Affairs for Europe, ambassador Walid Al Khubaizi, said that “Should Kuwait is not included in the list, all options will be open to apply the principle of reciprocity to citizens of European Union countries upon entering Kuwait.”

He pointed out that “there are a number of countries outside the European Union, which did not set any conditions for Kuwaitis to enter their lands.

The citizens of 54 world countries will benefit from the reopening of the European Union external borders on July 1.

Al Khubaizi told Al Rai, “the Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassador of the European Union to the country to inquired about this list,” noting that “cooperation between Kuwait and the European Union and all countries of the world is at the highest levels.”

He added there are bilateral agreements between Kuwait and European countries, each separately, with regard to several sectors, including education and treatment.

The EU ambassador to the country, Christian Tudor, confirmed that the discussion was still going on to adopt the final list, based on the development of health conditions within each country.

Tudor expected that the final list of countries, with which foreign borders will be reopened will be announced this week.

The European Union issued a decision a few days ago, to allow travel to and from some countries, which numbered 15, including China, on the condition that certain conditions be implemented.

A draft of the lists of countries whose nationals are permitted to travel to European Union countries as of July 1, published by the Euronews, showed that citizens of Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt are allowd to travel to the twenty-seven countries, while several countries were absent from the list, such as Brazil, the United States and Russia.

According to Euronews, EU officials failed to agree on a common list of the countries that would definitely be banned from entering the block upon the border reopening but managed to create a list of the countries with a better epidemiological situation, the citizens of which will be able to enter Europe starting from Wednesday.

It said citizens of Brazil, Qatar, the US and Russia will only be able to enter Europe at a later date when the epidemiological situation in these countries improves.

Nationals of the following countries are listed in this draft list: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bahamas, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey

Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.

“The European Union has an internal process to determine from which countries it would be safe to accept travellers,” EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said last Thursday, adding that its decisions are “based on health criteria.”

On June 11, the Commission presented its recommendation on the reopening of internal Schengen borders on June 15, so that Europeans can travel within the borderless area freely, just as they did pre-pandemic.

At the same time, the Commission recommended that the Member States should start allowing third-country nationals to enter the EU starting from July 1, gradually and partially, based on the epidemiological situation in each third-country.

The Commission recommended the following objective criteria for the Member States, when drafting the list of countries, the citizens of which may visit the EU after July 1: epidemiological situation and coronavirus response in that country, the ability to apply containment measures during travel, and whether or not that country has lifted travel restrictions towards the EU.

Based on these conditions, the Commission recommended that the nationals of the six Western Balkan countries should be the first to benefit from the abolishment of travel restrictions, all of which are in the list.