EU recommends opening countries to Americans for non-essential travel
The European Union has lifted travel restrictions for US residents, in the last step towards a return to normalcy despite concerns over the spread of potentially dangerous coronavirus variants.
EU governments decided on Friday to add the United States, as well as Albania, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Macao, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Taiwan to a so-called “white list. »Countries from which non-essential travel is permitted. The new rules will enter into force in a few days, upon publication in the EU Official Journal.
While some EU member states already allow visits from vaccinated Americans, inclusion in the whitelist means restrictions on U.S. residents will be lifted across the bloc. It also means that member states are free to allow non-quarantine travel from the United States, regardless of vaccination status.
The move will give a boost to major EU airlines such as Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which, along with their US counterparts, depend on profitable transatlantic corridors. Long-distance travel has been hit hard by restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
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Yet transatlantic traffic is not fully restored, as US presidential proclamations banning Europeans from visiting are still in effect. The EU is pushing the Joe Biden administration to reciprocate by lifting restrictions on its citizens, as vaccinations across the continent advance and the number of coronavirus infections declines sharply.
Some diplomats in Brussels were reluctant to allow the Americans to return before the United States agreed to reciprocate. The bloc decided to move forward under pressure from tourism dependent economies ahead of the summer season.
The expansion of the EU’s white list, which already included Japan, comes as internal travel within the bloc is re-established for those who are vaccinated or can prove they have recently recovered from the virus. From July 1, holders of digital Covid certificates will be able to roam freely anywhere in the 27 EU member states 14 days after the last shot.
The UK is also considering allowing non-quarantine travel for those who have been fully vaccinated, which would give a boost to the economies of southern Europe, for which Britain is a major tourist market.
© 2021 Bloomberg LP