The European Union could open to fully vaccinated tourists from certain countries by June, according to a formal proposal revealed by the European Commission on May 3.
Under the proposal, travelers from countries with low COVID-19 infection rates, such as the U.S., the U.K. and Canada, would be allowed to enter the EU for tourism and other non-essential reasons beginning this summer. The plan would include a mechanism to reimpose travel restrictions if infection rates increase again.
The majority of EU member states, eager to resume tourism operations after a year of lockdowns and border closings, are said to support to proposal.
In a tweet, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote, “Time to revive tourism industry & for cross-border friendships to rekindle – safely. We propose to welcome again vaccinated visitors & those from countries with a good health situation. But if variants emerge we have to act fast: we propose an EU emergency brake mechanism.”
According to the plan, the EU would allow entry to international travelers who have received the final dose of an approved vaccine at least 14 days before departure. The EU currently accepts the two-dose Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Thanks to a dramatic rise in domestic vaccinations, the EU also intends to allow entry to foreign travelers who have not been fully vaccinated if they are coming from a country with low infection rates.
Children who do not have access to an approved vaccine would still be able to enter the EU with vaccinated parents or guardians if they present proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
Until the EU fully implements its vaccine passport initiative, called the Digital Green Certificate program, it should accept “third country certificates based on national law,” according to the proposal. Accepted certificates are expected to include paper cards issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.K. National Health System.
The proposal was scheduled to be discussed by the ambassadors of EU countries on May 5. If the plan is quickly approved, it could be implemented by the end of June or earlier.
After approval, each member state retains the right to close its borders at will or to make adjustments to the plan.