EU executive recommends opening Europe to foreign travellers

Passengers stand in front of a display board in a terminal of the Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich, on April 8, 2021.
Passengers stand in front of a display board in a terminal of the Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich, on April 8, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - The European Union's executive recommended on Monday (May 3) that foreign citizens fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and those coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation be allowed to travel into the bloc without additional restrictions.

The 27-nation bloc currently allows citizens of seven countries to come on holidays or for other non-essential reasons, and the European Commission's proposal would expand that list.

"The (European) Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine," the executive arm said in a statement.

"This could be extended to vaccines having completed the WHO emergency use listing process. In addition, the Commission proposes to raise... the threshold related to the number of new Covid-19 cases used to determine a list of countries from which all travel should be permitted," it also said, adding that it should lead to the expansion of the list.

To limit the risk of importing new variants of the coronavirus, the Commission also offered a new "emergency break" that would allow the introduction of swift travel restrictions for countries where the health situation deteriorates sharply.

EU member states are due to start discussing the proposal on Tuesday. Their agreement is needed to put it into effect.