The European Union’s executive has suggested easing COVID-19 travel restrictions next month to bring in foreign visitors from more countries enter in an effort to boost the tourism industry this summer.
At present, visitors from only seven countries, including Australia and Singapore, are permitted to enter the EU on holiday regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, however they will be subject to tests or quarantine.
With the new proposals from the European Commission on Monday, the EU would allow in fully vaccinated foreign citizens and those from countries with a “good epidemiological situation”. This however still requires the approval by the EU’s 27 member states.
“Time to revive tourism industry and for cross-border friendships to rekindle – safely,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.
According to date provided by the CDC, those arriving from Britain, Russia and a number of other countries would meet the new criteria. U.S. citizens would not currently do so.
“We want to have this done before the mass summer travel starts,” an EU official said.
On Tuesday the EU member states will begin discussing the proposal and the official hoped it would be approved this month.
The tourism industry in the EU has faced heavy losses due to travel restrictions over the past year. If the new proposals are accepted, certain EU countries would be expected – but not legally obliged – to follow the new joint approach. Greece has already agreed to welcome vaccinated tourists from Israel.
Further measures to support the travel industry this summer include a central EU register permitting free travel for the bloc’s citizens in possession of a “green certificate” proving they have been fully vaccinated, have had a negative COVID-19 test or have immunity after recovering.
The Commission proposed to allow people who are fully inoculated with EU-recognized vaccines to be able to enter from any country. They also added that other vaccines could be added if they are approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Pfizer (PFE.N), Moderna (MRNA.O), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and AstraZeneca (AZN.L) are presently the approved vaccines in the EU. The WHO has also approved these vaccines for use and will decide on the use of two Chinese vaccines this week.
Reciprocity should be considered while deciding to allow leisure travel from third countries said the Commission. The commission has also proposed a new “emergency brake” that would allow the swift introduction of travel restrictions from countries where the health situation deteriorates sharply. EU countries would review the situation every two weeks.