NEWS

Fiji Still Included In European Union Essential List

But under strict requirements.
08 Jul 2020 12:36
Fiji Still Included In European Union Essential List
EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific Sujiro Seam on July 7, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

While the European Union (EU) didn’t include Fiji in its recent list of safe countries to allow in visitors, the EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, Sujiro Seam, says Fiji is still included in the ‘essential travellers list.’

But under strict requirements.

On July 1, the EU had decided that EU borders would be reopened to citizens from Australia, Canada, Algeria, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay and Japan.

Chinese travellers will be allowed to visit pending reciprocal access to China for EU visitors.

Mr Sujiro said it was important to understand that this was a progressive reopening of non-essential travels which means tourism.

“The list of 15 countries that we have opened our border to is an initial list which was established by the council and it will be revised every two weeks,” he said.

“There are opportunities for other countries to be added to that list based on their health and socio-economic conditions.

“For essential travels, there is a list of 11 categories for travellers with essential or special needs who are still allowed to travel to Europe wherever they come from. The door is not closed.”

He said the categories included students returning to Europe to study, health workers who came to assist in efforts against COVID-19, diplomats, military personnel serving in the EU, seafarers, seasonal workers, qualified professionals whose work could be done overseas, those seeking medical treatments in Europe and those that had imperative family reasons to travel such as a family member was critically sick.

“The most important part of this text is not the list of 15 countries but the list of essential travelers that are still authorised to travel into Europe.”

He added that while essential travel was possible, the lack of planes servicing nowadays was an issue.

“I don’t think Fiji lacks anything necessary that Fiji lacks in order to be in the list but if there are planes we will have plenty of time to address that.

“Travel between the Pacific and Europe is purely a theoretical issue, travel is not impossible because of a list of restrictions from the EU, it is impossible because there is no plane. You can always ask to be put in the list but if you travel tomorrow you will not be able to travel because there is no plane servicing as we speak.”

Yesterday the EU signed an agreement with EUR 6 million (FJ$ 14.63m) to improve food and nutrition security of vulnerable populations living in remote and isolated parts of the country.

Mr Sujiro said the support came at a time when Vanuatu faces economic consequences due to COVID-19 global pandemic and the disastrous impact of TC Harold.

“The agreement complements the EU budget support for the development of agricultural value chains, which aims at strengthening food and nutrition security and rural livelihood.”

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

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