European Union countries agree to open to fully vaccinated Americans this summer
The European Union confirmed on Wednesday that it will reopen to fully vaccinated travelers this summer. The group's Member States came to an agreement that will allow fully vaccinated travelers to enter the EU — including Americans — according to a spokesperson. The final agreement is expected to be published later this week while a final vote for approval is expected next week.
Under the vaccine passport scheme, each of the EU Member States would adopt the same entry requirements for visitors. The agreed-upon notion will see fully vaccinated travelers allowed entry to each of the EU countries without the need for a further COVID-19 test result or quarantine on arrival.
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Travelers must be fully vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines in the EU, which means that any vaccine that's approved for use in the U.S. will be accepted — Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer. Passengers who aren't fully vaccinated will likely need a negative COVID-19 test result and may be required to quarantine.
Related: Your guide to vaccine passports
Earlier this month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed the plan to reopen to vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries, including the U.S. That proposal has been agreed upon as of Wednesday by ambassadors, though it will face a formal vote next week.
Unfortunately, we still don't have a timeline for when the EU will implement this policy. EU Commissioner Christian Wigand did not say when the change to border restrictions would go into effect, however, he did say it will depend on individual countries setting up their respective systems to check proof of vaccination.
“Today EU ambassadors agreed to update the approach to travel from outside the European Union,” Wigand said. The European Council “now recommends that member states ease some restrictions, in particular for those vaccinated with an EU-authorized vaccine.”
A final approval of the proposal is still required and is expected next week, but its passage is "not in doubt," according to the Washington Post. The plan will also include an "emergency brake," which will allow the EU to change its advice if cases are rising in a country.
In addition to confirming plans to reopen to vaccinated travelers, the European Union is planning on implementing an EU-wide standard of safe travel for tourists.
In a Tweet, the European Commission said that a "new COVID-19 tourism safety protocol label will facilitate the safe reopening of tourism in the EU." The new "safety seal" will single out compliant and safe tourist establishments, based on health and safety standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Member States will be able to award establishments with the new seal if they comply with advised standards of safety.
"The European COVID-19 tourism safety label will help tourism businesses ensure safety procedures ahead of the summer season, thus increasing the confidence of travelers, residents and workers in the tourism sector," said EU Commissioner Thierry Breton.
A number of European countries have already individually announced their plans to reopen to tourism. Most recently, France said it's going to open to travelers from June 9. If that date holds, Americans can look at visiting the country as well as other EU destinations — so long as the EU proposal is finalized and implemented by that date.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates...