The UK is currently included in rules allowing travel within the bloc during the pandemic.
But the European Commission has reportedly said that after 31 December, the UK will be part of the same system as every other non-EU nation – whereby access to the bloc is decided by the severity of a country’s outbreak.
So far just eight countries are included on the EU’s list of “safe” third nations, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
It is unlikely the UK will become the ninth.
According to the Financial Times, which reported the European Commission’s comments, EU officials said there are currently no proposals to add the UK to the “safe” list and even if a proposal is made, the country would still have to meet the technical criteria for inclusion.
The Commission’s website says these include “the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations”.
The guidance for EU and Schengen nations adds: “Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.”
However, many countries are choosing to implement the guidance differently, and not all EU member states admit travellers from every country on the “safe” list.
Just 12 nations apply the list in full. Hungary, Croatia and Norway have not used the guidance at all.
The FT reported that UK diplomats, those travelling for “imperative family reasons” and certain “highly qualified third-country workers” will be exempt from the rules.
EU nationals living in the UK and Britons living in the EU will be also allowed to travel to and from their respective homes, the paper said.