2021 might just be the summer of travel!
After over a year of not being able to explore new cultures and cities — or simply take a relaxing vacation! — due to the pandemic, various countries are once again opening up to travelers, and now perhaps the most long-awaited region has announced a change in policy: Europe!
The head of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, shared the news with The New York Times on Sunday, April 25, saying that Americans who are fully vaccinated will be able to visit the country members starting this summer. Non-essential travel to the E.U. had been officially banned since last March, with a few exceptions for countries who had low case numbers like Australia, etc.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told the Times. “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.” The approved vaccines include the only ones being administered in the U.S. at the moment: Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson.
Von der Leyen did not give a set timeline, but recognized that the U.S. was “on track” to hits its target of 70% of the population vaccinated by June.
Apparently, E.U. and U.S. officials have been talking for weeks about how to establish a uniform communication of vaccination certifications for the different regions. For now, a visitor could get an E.U.-approved vaccine card when they arrive in one of the countries, which would be shared after showing their own certificate from their country (like the U.S.). Eventually, officials said they expect that “government-issued vaccine certificates issued by foreign governments would be acceptable and readable in the European Union, and vice versa,” according to the Times.
Still, each member country could choose not to adopt the new travel policy, or continue to enact their own requirements like negative tests and quarantines if they feel it is necessary.
If you need a reminder, the E.U. contains the 27 countries of:
[Featured image from Unsplash]