The European Union this week proposed its 27 nations to reopen borders for non-essential travel in the latest step to welcome tourists back to its popular vacation destinations.
The Commission cited the progress of vaccination campaigns as well as the improving epidemiological situation around the world on Monday as reasons for its latest recommendation. To facilitate a season of tourism, the Commission proposed member countries lift restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers who have received a shot approved in the EU, which include vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.
The Commission said that could also be extended to vaccines that complete the WHO emergency use listing process.
“Time to revive EU tourism industry and for cross-border friendships to rekindle — safely,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told The Associated Press. “We propose to welcome again vaccinated visitors and those from countries with a good health situation.”
In a further boost to international tourism, the Commission said any country that decides to waive testing or quarantine restrictions for vaccinated people “on their territory” should also do so for vaccinated people entering the EU.
Children who are not yet able to be vaccinated should be allowed to travel with their vaccinated parents if they show proof of a negative PCR test.
However, Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz told the AP the proposal doesn’t automatically exempt tourists from testing or quarantine protocols.
“This still remains very much in the hands of the member states,” he said.
The recommendation, which will be reviewed this week, is the next step toward opening the continent to tourists and comes a week after the EU said it expected to welcome fully-vaccinated Americans by this summer.
But some European countries haven’t waited and are already welcoming tourists back to their shores. Greece and Croatia, which are both EU member nations, have each waived pre-arrival testing requirements for vaccinated American travelers and are welcoming unvaccinated tourists with proof of a negative test. And Iceland, which is part of the Schengen border-free area, is welcoming vaccinated tourists without the need to get tested or quarantine.
Conversely, France, also a member of the EU, plans to open to vaccinated American tourists by June 9, but remains closed for now.