FILE - In this Wednesday, July 1, 2020 file photo, Marcel Schmetz raises the US flag next to a WWII American Sherman tank at his Remember Museum 39-45 in Thimister-Clermont, Belgium. Tourists from the United States who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could be able to travel across the European Union this summer, officials from the 27-nation bloc said on Monday, April 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 1, 2020 file photo, Marcel Schmetz raises the US flag next to a WWII American Sherman tank at his Remember Museum 39-45 in Thimister-Clermont, Belgium. Tourists from the United States who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could be able to travel across the European Union this summer, officials from the 27-nation bloc said on Monday, April 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

EU finalizing plans to allow U.S. tourists back this summer

The commission didn’t say when exactly tourists will be allowed back inside the bloc

The European Union is finalizing plans to allow tourists from the United States to travel to the 27-nation bloc this summer, officials said Monday.

More than a year after the EU restricted travel to the region to a bare minimum in a bid to contain the pandemic, the European Commission said it would make a recommendation to member states to allow American travellers back.

The commission didn’t say when exactly tourists will be allowed back inside the bloc, and if a reciprocal approach will apply to European tourists willing to travel to the U.S.

European Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz told reporters that the EU’s executive body is hoping to restore nonessential “trans-Atlantic travel as soon as it is safe to do so.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if only full vaccination would be accepted for entry, or whether a negative PCR test or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 could be presented as well.

“These are among the questions we’ll still need to figure out,” Jahnz said. “The proposal is not yet made. For now, we have nothing more to go by than what the (European Commission) president said.”

On Sunday, The New York Times published an interview with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, reporting that fully vaccinated Americans would be able to visit EU countries this summer since all coronavirus vaccines currently used in the U.S. have also been approved by the EU’s drug regulator. But the report didn’t mention whether she was asked about whether Americans could also provide a negative PCR test or evidence of recovering from COVID-19.

“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” von der Leyen said in the interview. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union. Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA.”

Jahnz insisted that the return of American tourists to EU nations will be conditioned on the epidemiological situation in both the U.S. and within the bloc.

The European Union is putting the finishing touches to a system of certificates that would allow EU residents to travel freely across the region by the summer as long as they have been vaccinated, tested negative for COVID-19 or recovered from the disease. Under the plan discussed with their U.S. counterparts, American tourists could be included in the program.

With more than 15 million Americans estimated to travel to Europe annually before the crisis, the recommendation from the commission is manna from heaven for the heavily hit European tourism sector. But EU member states will have the final say on whether to implement the guidelines.

The commission said other third countries have made similar requests, but didn’t name them. Asked whether negotiations with the United Kingdom were ongoing, European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said “no contact to this end” has been made.

Travel to the EU is currently extremely limited except for a handful of countries with low infection rates including Australia and New Zealand. But Greece, which is heavily reliant on tourism, has already lifted quarantine restrictions for the U.S., Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia, Israel, and non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland that are part of a European travel pact. Travellers from those countries will no longer be subject to a seven-day quarantine requirement if they hold a vaccination certificate or negative PCR test.

“Uniliteral approaches, from our perspective should be avoided,” Jahnz said. “The objective is to continue to have a co-ordinated approach on the European level.”

READ MORE: Tourism spending in Canada dropped by almost 50 per cent in 2020

___

Samuel Petrequin, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusEuropean UnionTourismUSAvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of 5-year-old girl

The woman was charged and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and assault with weapons, including a belt and a spatula

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 2,042 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Jason Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

‘It makes no sense for our neighbours and regional states to be sitting on doses that we cannot use,’ the premier said

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine can be given to adults 30+ who can’t wait for mRNA: NACI

Panel says single shot vaccine can be especially useful for populations unable to return for second shot

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)

Most Read