The European Union agreed on Wednesday to reopen to fully vaccinated travelers (who have received approved vaccines) or those coming from countries with a “good epidemiological situation.”
EU member states officially endorsed a proposal from two weeks earlier by the European Commission. The continent will reopen for broader international tourism after more than a year of restrictions on most non-EU countries.
Christian Wigand, a spokesperson for the EU Commission, made the announcement in a video shared via Twitter.
“The council now recommended member states ease some of the current restrictions, in particular for those vaccinated with an authorized vaccine,” Wigand said. “The council should also soon expand the list of non-EU countries with a good epidemiological situation from where travel is permitted based on the new criteria agreed today.”
The EU Council will finalize the list of non-EU countries deemed “COVID-safe” on Friday and new measures could take effect as early as next week.
Authorized vaccines include those approved by the European Medicines Agency or by the World Health Organization. This list includes Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines.
Individual EU countries will still be able to impose their own restrictions which could include negative COVID tests or quarantines, depending on incoming travelers. The bloc as a whole will also still have an emergency-brake option, a legal tool allowing it to immediately reinstate travel restrictions in case of emergency.
“This will help progressively resuming international inbound travel where it’s possible to do so safely while at the same time ensuring quick action to counter the spread of new virus variants,” Wigand said during the press conference.
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