The European Union plans to open its doors this summer to U.S. tourists who’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, The New York Times reported, citing the head of the bloc’s executive body.
The change, which would come under certain conditions, would end the bloc’s more than one-year ban of nonessential travel from most countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The latest move came after the “huge progress” of U.S. vaccinations and as talks advanced on both sides on the proof of immunity for visitors, allowing the governing body of the bloc to recommend a change in policy, according to the newspaper.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, was cited by the paper as saying. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.”
The bloc’s regulator has approved the three vaccines used in the U.S., from Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc., and Johnson & Johnson.
While the bloc will recommend the change, member states could still retain stricter restrictions that may include quarantines, The Times said.
The resumption of travel would depend “on the epidemiological situation, but the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union,” von der Leyen told The Times, without giving a more specific timeline.
The U.S. State Department last week issued “Do Not Travel” advisories for about 80% of the world’s nations, including most EU countries except for Spain, Austria, Denmark and Estonia. The U.K. also isn’t on the list.
The White House National Security Council had no immediate response on the report Sunday.
Officials in Brussels have discussed the prospect of relying on government-issued vaccine certificates to enable free travel, according to The Times.
The U.S. government has said it won’t issue so-called vaccine passports because of privacy concerns, and any such efforts should be led by the private and not-for-profit sectors.
About 42% of the U.S. population has had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine so far, and 28.5% are fully vaccinated.
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