Americans who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus may be able to visit countries in the European Union this summer, the head of the bloc’s executive body said.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told The New York Times on Sunday that immunization with a vaccine that has been approved by bloc’s drug regulator, the European Medicines Agency, “will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.”
The agency has approved each of the three coronavirus vaccines available in the United States, which were developed by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.
“One thing is clear,” she told the newspaper. “All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA.”
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NBC News confirmed von der Leyen’s statements with a European Commission spokesperson, who declined to comment further.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Mission to the E.U. in Brussels declined to comment.
A timeline for potential travel isn’t clear. The 27-member bloc will require digital vaccination certificates from travelers as proof of immunization.
A commission had previously confirmed talks are underway between the two sides. On Wednesday, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas spoke with the E.U.’s commissioner for justice, Didier Reynders, in a virtual meeting where travel was discussed.
Travel is also contingent on the “epidemiological situation” in both regions, Von der Leyen told The New York Times, though she added that the U.S. appeared to be “on track” to achieving herd immunity.
More tourists from the U.S. visit the E.U. than from any other country outside the bloc, with 25 million arrivals spending 74 million nights in 2016, according to an E.U.-funded report.
The European Union imposed travel restrictions on most foreigners last March and failed to allow travelers from the U.S. to enter when it reopened its borders in July.
Tim Stelloh reported from New York; Patrick Smith reported from London.