European Union officials say they are looking to resume trans-Atlantic travel “as soon as it is safe to do so,” following comments Sunday that Americans would be able to travel to Europe by the summer.
Adalbert Jahnz, spokesperson for the European Commission, said at a news conference on Monday that EU officials have been “following very closely the progress of vaccination in the United States” and the rapid progress the U.S. has made gives hope for the rollback of international travel restrictions.
Jahnz said that discussions between U.S. and EU officials are underway regarding possible vaccine passports, and the European Commission is preparing a proposal for member countries to “amend the recommendation on the external travel restriction, in order to take into account the recent developments.”
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EU officials are also urging member states to take a unified approach when deciding whether or not to allow Americans to travel to their countries.
“This coordinated approach is set out in a council recommendation, which was agreed by all member states and it should be followed, which is in the interest of all member states and of the EU in general, and member states themselves have underlined the need to have such a common approach,” Jahnz said. “Unilateral approaches from our perspective should be avoided.”
He added, however, that the spread of COVID-19 variants is a concern, “which is why from our perspective a coordinated approach on a European level remains essential.” Ultimately, though, the final decision on whether to allow travel to an EU member state would lie with that country.
Italy welcomed the news and the country’s tourism minister told CNN that it already has plans to begin lifting coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Massimo Garavaglia said in the statement that tourists not from EU member states would not have to follow the mandatory quarantine if they are vaccinated or present a recent negative COVID-19 test.