Commission wants to reopen Europe to non-EU tourists

EU to Ease Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Foreign Tourists

EU to Ease Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Foreign Tourists

The 27-nation bloc now allows citizens of seven countries to come on holidays or for other non-essential reasons and the European Commission's proposal would expand that list.

According to this point of the proposal, while non-essential travel is now permitted from seven third countries listed as epidemiologically safe, the threshold of two-week cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate should increase from 25 to as many as 100.

Travel to the European Union is now extremely limited except for a handful of countries with low infection rates.

Coronavirus vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency, the bloc's drug regulator, include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. "Member States could also extend this to those vaccinated with a vaccine having completed the World Health Organization emergency use listing process", the statement said. Both agencies are considering Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

"Until the Digital Green Certificate is operational, Member States should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries based on national law, taking into account the ability to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate and whether it contains all relevant data, " the Commission says.

The European Commission proposes that the 27 member states lift limits for vaccinated persons travelling to the EU.

"If we stay out, that would mean we would be very much isolated in terms of access to Europe", he said.

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The Commission also proposed raising the threshold of new COVID-19 cases that is used to determine the countries from which all travel should be permitted.

A planned G-7 summit in the United Kingdom on June 11 - the first since the start of the pandemic - "would be an ideal opportunity for a joint announcement of the full reopening of the U.S. -UK air travel market for both U.S. and UK citizens", they suggested.

However, he added: "It is frustrating that the United Kingdom has not gone down the same road, with ministers here still reluctant to acknowledge that we can be more ambitious with our own plans, taking advantage of one of the most impressive vaccination programmes in the world, alongside quicker, cheaper testing and our globally renowned genomic sequencing capability".

Consequently, the EU's list of acceptable countries could expand from seven at the moment - Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand; and China with a thus-far-unmet reciprocity condition - to many more.

Even if they are fully immunised - meaning having received two doses, except for the single-jab Johnson & Johnson vaccine, then waiting two weeks for them to be fully effective - European Union countries can still require COVID-19 tests, quarantine or even both.

A woman takes a smartphone photograph as a healthcare worker administers a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination center inside the Fira de Barcelona exhibition space in Barcelona, Spain.

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