Politics Regional

European Union to Lift Travel Ban on Vaccinated Americans: EU Official

A top European official said Sunday that American travelers who are fully vaccinated against the CCP virus will likely be allowed to travel to the European Union this summer, with the caveat that a final decision on resumption of travel will depend on the status of the outbreak.

“Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the New York Times in an interview, adding, “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 EMA,” the official added.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the bloc’s drug regulator, has approved all three vaccines being used in the United States—ones produced by Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.

European Union member countries restricted nonessential travel from the United States over a year ago to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Von der Leyen did not provide further details about the possible resumption of travel from the United States, but noted that it would depend “on the epidemiological situation,” which she assessed is “improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union.”

Individual EU member countries will still have the final say on whether American tourists can cross their borders.

It is unclear what forms of proof of vaccination would be required from U.S. travelers to enter the European Union, but officials in the bloc are at an advanced stage in talks about launching vaccine passports for intra-EU travel.

The European Commission has proposed a Digital Green Certificate, which is to be available in digital or paper format, and will serve as proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19.

European Union parliamentarians will debate the proposal at a plenary session scheduled for April 26–29, after which they will vote on the issue, paving the way for negotiations on the adoption of the measure with individual member states.

Pilot schemes for Europe’s vaccine passport are expected to be launched at the beginning June, according to Didier Reynders, the European commissioner for justice, Euronews reported.

Pandemic-driven travel restrictions have ravaged tourism in Europe, with tourist-dependent countries like Greece pushing for early adoption of vaccine passports to ease entry for visitors.

The issue of vaccine passports has drawn controversy, with civil liberties groups arguing they would potentially violate privacy rights while denying key services to people who are not vaccinated.

Several governors, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, both Republicans, have issued executive orders barring the use of vaccine passports in their states.

Source: The Epoch Times

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