European Union Sets Out Plan To Reopen Continent To Vaccinated Holiday Makers
The European Union has unveiled its plan for welcoming foreign travelers back to the continent, with the UK expected to be among the first countries added to the bloc's list of safe countries.
The European Commission confirmed on Monday that it was proposing the 27 member states "ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU," with border controls expected to be relaxed for holiday-makers from certain countries in the coming weeks.
Plans, the European Commission statement said, would "take into account the progress of vaccination campaigns and developments in the epidemiological situation worldwide".
British travellers are expected to be among the first welcomed back into Europe as the UK continues with its successful vaccine rollout. Around two-thirds of people had received a first coronavirus jab as of Sunday, with around a quarter receiving both doses.The EU announcement comes amid multiple reports in the UK that the government is preparing to lift the ban on non-essential travel abroad in the next few weeks.
Portugal and Malta are among the EU member states thought to be on the "green" list of foreign destinations which Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, is expected to unveil this week — though discussions within government are still ongoing.
Brits traveling to countries on the green list are expected to be required to take two tests — one before returning to the UK and another after arriving — but will not have to quarentine.
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President, this morning tweeted: "Time to revive tourism industry & for cross-border friendships to rekindle - safely.
"We propose to welcome again vaccinated visitors & those from countries with a good health situation.
"But if variants emerge we have to act fast: we propose an EU emergency brake mechanism".
The European Commission said variants of the coronavirus called for "continued vigilance" and that it had an "emergency break" to put a temporary halt on travel into the bloc.
"This will allow Member States to act quickly and temporarily limit to a strict minimum all travel from affected countries for the time needed to put in place appropriate sanitary measures," it said.