The European Union is preparing its touristic summer season with the greatest care. After thoughts about the health pass – that would enable EU citizens to travel the Old Continent – the European Commission is now working on international travelers.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced in an interview with American newspaper New York Times that U.S. tourists could visit Europe this summer. The president wishes to reopen borders to Covid-19 vaccinated U.S. travelers because they are immunized with vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency.
“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. 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.” Von der Leyen told New York Times.
As a matter of fact, the US is currently using three vaccines to immunize the populations, three names also found in France and in many European countries: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Even better, these vaccines are given at an incredible speed. By mid-June, the American government expects to have vaccinated 70% of the population, a very reasonable goal given the pace the operation is conducted.
Therefore, Von der Leyen allows American tourists to return to Europe, but she did not say when borders will reopen. Touristic travels will resume depending on the health situation in the U.S. and in Europe. Because on the Old Continent, the epidemic is still devastating, and many countries – France included – are lagging behind in terms of vaccinations.
Yet, the EU hopes to be able to relaunch the tourism industry for the summer 2021 because many countries depend on the benefits generated by international travelers. Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal or even Croatia for instance are ready to reopen their borders to vaccinated U.S. tourists as soon as possible.
Now, the EU has to agree on the rules to set as for travels and welcoming international tourists. Quarantine, vaccinal passport, negative PCR test… Many restrictions have to be instated to make sure this summer is as safe as possible while relaunching the economy and leisure trips.