US tourists to be allowed to travel to EU in summer, report says
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 26, 2021
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American tourists fully vaccinated for the coronavirus will be able to travel to European Union countries this summer, the leader of the bloc told The New York Times on Sunday.
The fast pace of vaccinations in the U.S. has prompted EU officials to begin the process of loosening travel rules for those with proof they’ve been immunized, said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” von der Leyen said. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.”
All 27 EU member states will accept, “unconditionally,” all those who are vaccinated with inoculations approved by the European Medicine Agency, she said in The New York Times report.
The three vaccines approved for emergency use in the U.S., Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson, are all accepted in Europe.
Talks are underway between the U.S. and Europe on a format for vaccination certificates. Von der Leyen did not offer a timeline for when the details would be worked out or when tourist travel would be allowed.
Flights between the U.S. and Europe have been limited mainly to official and essential travel since last year.
The loosening of travel rules is expected to give the tourist industry in Europe a summer jolt.
It would also make it easier for many of the tens of thousands of U.S. troops and military civilians in Europe to reunite with visiting friends and family.
Nearly 29% of Americans had been fully vaccinated for the coronavirus while about 42% had received an initial dose as of Sunday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In most of Europe, the pace of vaccinations has been much slower. On military bases, the rate of inoculations had lagged behind the U.S. But the pace has accelerated recently as more bases in Europe began receiving larger vaccine shipments.
Lufthansa planes wait at a Frankfurt International Airport terminal in 2019. The fast pace of vaccinations in the U.S. has prompted the European Union to begin the process of loosening travel rules for Americans who have proof they've been fully immunized, paving the way for tourist travel this summer.
MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES