Expect to see fully vaccinated Americans rushing to European borders. In an interview with The New York Times on Sunday, the European Union’s executive body said that fully vaccinated Americans will be able to visit the European Union this summer.
“All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated.” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission. In an interview with The Times, she ensured that Americans will be able to move freely and travel to the European Union granted they use European Medicine Agency-approved (EMA) vaccines, which includes the three vaccines being used in the United States, Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson (currently on pause and scheduled to resume Saturday).
Since March 2020, nonessential travel to the European Union has been officially banned, with the exclusion of 7 countries, due to low case numbers, including Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Greece has already opened its doors to tourists who have been vaccinated and those with negative test results up to three prior to arrival from the EU, United Kingdom, United States, Israel, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates.
In speaking to CNN, Greece’s tourism minister Harry Theoharis said the country “is taking these baby steps, the start of a gradual opening process that will lead to a full opening of tourism in Greece on May 14. During the weeks ahead we will be making adjustments.”
The discussion being had between the EU and U.S. is how to make vaccine certificates from each nation universally readable and accepted so citizens can travel with no restrictions. According to The Times, officials in Brussels say it’s possible that a low-tech solution, where travelers to Europe could get an EU vaccine certificate after showing a certificate issued by their respective government, will be used in the near future, enabling people “to travel freely on the basis of vaccination.”
But according to officials, the goal is to render this process unnecessary by making vaccine certificates readable to European nations no matter the foreign government from which they came, and vice versa.
Von der Leyen did not offer a specific date on which tourist travel will begin but noted that restrictions will change on the basis of vaccination certificates.