June 17. The European Union yesterday recommended that its 27 member countries start lifting restrictions on travelers from the United States. EU members agreed on Wednesday to add the U.S. to the list of countries where restrictions on non-essential travel should be removed. The recommendation was adopted during a meeting in Brussels of permanent EU representatives and is expected to be ratified.
On the other hand, the recommendation is non-binding, and national governments can still require COVID testing or vaccination records and set other entry conditions. The EU has no unified COVID-19 tourism or border policy, but has been working for months on a joint digital travel certificate for those vaccinated, newly tested, or recently recovered from the virus.
The free certificates, which will contain a QR code with advanced security features, would allow people to move freely between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests upon arrival. Several EU countries have already begun using the system, including Belgium, Spain, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland. The rest are expected to start using it July 1.
One nation notably absent from the EU exemption list is the United Kingdom, where almost half of the population is currently fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The U.K. government earlier this week delayed a long awaited plan to lift all COVID restrictions for at least another month. It said a recent surge in the number of cases is linked to the delta variant first discovered in India, which is believed to be around 60 percent more infectious than previous variants of the virus.
Virginia Messina, senior vice president of the World Travel & Tourism Council, says the EU recommendation to allow for a return of U.S. visitors to Europe is an opportunity to re-establish international mobility.
Source: Insider Travel Report