American tourists who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit Europe this summer, one of the EU’s top bosses has said.
Ursula Von Der Leyen, the head of the European Union’s executive body, told The New York Times on Sunday that the speedy pace of vaccinations in the United States will ‘enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.’
She did not give an exact timeline for when tourism from the United States would resume and added that resuming leisure travel would depend ‘on the epidemiological situation.’
‘The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines. This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union,’ she said.
‘Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.’
She added: ‘But the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union.’
American tourists who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit Europe this summer after more than a year of closures
The European Union hailed progress the United States has made in its COVID-19 vaccine drive
Visitors and staff wearing protective face masks, walk down the Main Street of Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallee on the outskirts of Paris in July 2020
Members of the Civil Protection man a COVID-19 control point where passengers from specific countries register for COVID-19 tests upon their arrival at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy near Paris on Sunday
Travelers wearing protective masks line up to check-in for JetBlue Airways Corp. flights in Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on March 26
Parisians enjoy the good weather in the Louise Michel park, in front of the Sacre Coeur Basilica
The European Medicines Agency, which regulated drugs for the European Union, has approved the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson jabs – which are the three vaccines being used in the United States.
There have been 229 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines given in the United States so far, according to Bloomberg. There was an average of 2.75 million doses given to Americans per day in the last week.
Around 140 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer require two shots three or four weeks apart, while Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is given as a single dose.
There are 94.8 million Americans who are now fully-vaccinated.
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen holds a press conference with the Swiss president during a meeting at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium
A map shows the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the United States on Sunday
A chart shows the total number of new coronavirus infections in the United States since the start of the pandemic
A chart shows the number of new coronavirus infections in the United States per day in March and April
A chart shows the number of new coronavirus deaths in the United States per day in March and April
A chart shows the total number of new coronavirus deaths in the United States since the start of the pandemic
According to The New York Times, officials in the European Union and United States have been in ongoing technical discussions ‘on how to practically and technologically make vaccine certificates from each place broadly readable so that citizens can use them to travel without restrictions.’
Then-President Donald Trump banned leisure travel from the EU and UK last March, with that ban kept in place by Joe Biden after he became president in January.
It remains unclear if the US will reciprocate and end its travel ban in return for the EU lifting theirs.
Von Der Leyen says she hopes vaccine passports will enable people who have been vaccinated, or recovered from COVID, to return to Europe.
Efforts are also underway to develop a standardized document that would be recognized by multiple different countries.
The European Union has started to provide citizens with ‘digital green certificates.’ These certificates provide ‘a digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19,’ according to the bloc’s website.
The certificates will be provided to European citizens free of charge in a digital and paper formats that include a QR code, and will be valid in all 27 countries within the European Union.
‘The digital version can be stored on a mobile device. Citizens can also request a paper version. Both will have a QR code that contains essential information, as well as a digital seal to make sure the certificate is authentic,’ the EU website reads.
‘The Digital Green Certificate will be accepted in all EU Member States. It will help to ensure that restrictions currently in place can be lifted in a coordinated manner.’
The New York Times noted that individual countries may adhere to stricter rules for tourism restrictions – though tourism dependent countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Croatia are expected to quickly reopen for American tourists.
Some countries in the European Union have already made small exceptions to permit travelers from other countries including the United States starting on Monday if they provide proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test.