The EU Commission has proposed member states ease current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, taking into account of a country’s vaccination and health progress.
Under the proposals, members states would allow into the EU those who have received a coronavirus vaccine at least 14 days before the date of their arrival.
Currently, just seven countries with “a good epidemiological situation” qualify for non-essential travel into the EU.
However, the proposals contain an “emergency brake” clause, meaning that if the Covid situation in any given country worsens quickly, or a variant of concern is detected, member states can suspend all inbound travel by non-EU citizens.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, tweeted: “Time to revive [the EU’s] 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 proposal an EU emergency brake mechanism.”
Discussions on the plan will begin tomorrow.
It comes as many southern European countries who rely on summer tourism, such as Spain, Greece and Cyprus said they will be willing to open their borders to tourists from May – including to British holidaymakers.
Foreign holidays discouraged
Despite reports that overseas travel will against be allowed from 17 May, a group of MPs has today said the government should “discourage all international leisure travel” this year to protect the UK from new variants.
Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus, told Sky News: “We wouldn’t want to have for the sake of one summer holiday us go backwards and have a further wave and a further lockdown.”
She warned that allowing international travel again could “scupper our progress at the very last minute”.
“Let’s be really cautious and rather than encouraging people to be going away, our view is that the government should be discouraging people from taking their holiday this year,” she added.