The European Union is recommending that its member countries begin lifting restrictions on travelers from the United States.

During a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, bloc members agreed to add the U.S. to the list of countries they are gradually removing restrictions on for non-essential travel. The U.S. will be added to the list of countries the EU deems safe enough based on epidemiological thresholds.

Cartoons on the Coronavirus

The ban on non-essential travel for American tourists is expected to be lifted on Friday, just in time for the summer travel season and more than a year after it was implemented to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move will allow Americans to travel to the EU for non-essential reasons, such as tourism or visiting family, even if they are not vaccinated. While all travelers could be allowed to enter the bloc without restrictions, the European Commission recommended that a negative COVID-19 test still be required before travel.

However, any rules to be enforced are ultimately up to each individual country.

Currently, the European Union has no uniform COVID-19 travel policy but has begun implementing its Digital Green Certificate. The certificate is proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the virus.

Several European countries have already started to use the certificate for residents and visitors, and it is expected to be in use in all 27 member countries by July 1. The free certificates will allow people to move more freely between European countries without having to undergo quarantines or additional COVID-19 testing upon arrival in a country.

While the Digital Green Certificate is meant for EU citizens, Americans and other foreigners can obtain one if they convince European authorities they qualify.

In addition to the U.S., other countries the EU is recommending to be added to its safe travel list are Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan, Hong and Macau.

People sit on the “Castel” beach along the “Promenade des anglais” on the French Riviera city of Nice, southern France.

VALERY HACHE | AFP | Getty Images

European Union countries agreed on Wednesday to ease Covid-19 travel restrictions on non-EU visitors ahead of the summer tourist season, two EU sources said.

Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries approved a European Commission proposal from May 3 to loosen the criteria to determine “safe” countries and to let in fully vaccinated tourists from elsewhere.

They are expected to set a new list this week or early next week. Based on data from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Britain and a number of other countries would meet the new criteria.

The United States would not, although vaccinated Americans would be welcome in Europe. An EU source confirmed to NBC News that European ambassadors agreed that fully-vaccinated tourists from the U.S. and other countries would no longer have to quarantine or be tested.

NBC News also reported that Americans may eventually be able to apply for a European “Digital Green Certificate.”

One EU diplomat said cases of the Indian variant in Britain would need to be taken into account, although individual EU countries are already setting their own policies, therefore there is no set date for restrictions to be lifted.

Portugal lifted a four-month travel ban on British tourists on Monday.

Under current restrictions, people from only seven countries, including Australia, Israel and Singapore, can enter the EU on holiday, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.   

The current main criterion is that there should be no more than 25 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days. The trend should be stable or decreasing and there should be a sufficient number of tests, which would need to show a minimum percentage of negative tests. Variants of concern can be taken into account.

Tourists come back to St. Mark’s Square as Italy lifts quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from European Union countries, Britain and Israel and begins offering COVID-free flights in a bid to revive the tourism industry amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, in Venice, Italy, May 16, 2021.

Manuel Silvestri | Reuters

The Commission proposed raising the case rate to 100. The EU ambassadors opted instead for 75. For inoculated people to gain access, they would need to have received an EU-approved vaccine, with those with a World Health Organization emergency listing will be considered.

An emergency brake would be used to limit the risk of variants entering the bloc.

More details are expected to be released Thursday, although a new expanded list of countries permitted for non-essential travel in Europe is expected to be decided in the next week or two.

—CNBC’s Vicky McKeever contributed to this article.

European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

European Union countries agreed on Wednesday to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-EU visitors ahead of the summer tourist season, a move that could open the bloc’s door to all Britons and to vaccinated Americans.

Ambassadors from the 27 EU countries approved a European Commission proposal from May 3 to loosen the criteria to determine “safe” countries and to let in fully vaccinated tourists from elsewhere, EU sources said.

They are expected to set a new list this week or early next week. Based on data from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Britain and a number of other countries would meet the new criteria.

The United States would not, although Americans with proof of vaccination would be welcomed.

One EU diplomat said cases of the Indian variant in Britain would need to be taken into account, although individual EU countries are already setting their own policies. Portugal lifted a four-month travel ban on British tourists on Monday.

Under current restrictions, people from only seven countries, including Australia, Israel and Singapore, can enter the EU on holiday, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

Individual countries can and will still be able to choose to demand a negative COVID-19 test or a period of quarantine.

The current main criterion is that there should be no more than 25 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days. The trend should be stable or decreasing and there should be a sufficient number of tests, which would need to show a minimum percentage of negative tests. Variants of concern can be taken into account.

The Commission proposed raising the case rate to 100. The EU ambassadors opted instead for 75. For inoculated people to gain access, they would need to have received an EU-approved vaccine, with those with a World Health Organization emergency listing being considered.

These people should have received final doses at least 14 days before travel. Under the plan, EU countries that waive test or quarantine requirements for vaccinated EU tourists are encouraged to do the same for vaccinated non-EU holidaymakers.

Children should also be able to travel with vaccinated parents.

An emergency brake could be used temporarily to stop all but essential travel from a particular country to limit the risk of more infectious coronavirus variants entering the EU. Such a brake has been proposed for India.

The EU plan covers countries of the border-free Schengen area, including non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, but not the non-Schengen EU member Ireland.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) has made a binding offer to acquire Egencia, Expedia Group’s corporate travel arm.

As part of the transaction, Expedia Group would become a shareholder in, and enter a long-term strategic commercial agreement with, GBT. 

Paul Abbott, GBT chief executive, said: “Our strategy is to provide customers with unparalleled choice by having the best solutions for each managed travel segment that we serve.

“In Egencia, we would welcome the industry’s leading digital business travel platform.

“Egencia would be strengthened by GBT’s complementary technology, enterprise capabilities and cutting-edge content. This would create new opportunities for both multinational and small and medium-sized enterprise clients, suppliers and the talented teams within both organisations.”   

Together, GBT and Egencia would offer comprehensive technology and customer solutions across every segment of business travel.

President of Expedia Business Services, Ariane Gorin, said: “We are thrilled by the potential transaction and what GBT and Egencia could achieve together, as Expedia Group seeks to simplify our business and be a leader in all of our endeavours.

“The combination of GBT’s leading solutions with Egencia’s great technology and team would help create the world’s best business travel offerings for customers and suppliers.”

The proposed deal is subject to consultation by Expedia Group and Egencia with their applicable employee representatives, as well as customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals.

No financial details were given for the transaction.

TipRanks

These 3 Cathie Wood Stocks Are Set to Rip Higher By 40% (Or More)

The markets lately are a mix of gains and volatility, and it’s tough, sometimes, for investors to make sense of it. In times like these, it makes sense to turn to the experts. Cathie Wood is one such expert, an investor whose stock choices have consistently outperformed the overall markets. A protégé of famed economist Arthur Laffer, market guru Wood has built her reputation on her clear view of the markets. Her firm is Ark Invest, whose Innovation ETF has over $52 billion in assets under management, making it one of the largest institutional investors on the scene. And better yet, Wood’s stock choices paid back during the ‘corona year;’ the ETF’s overall return in 2020 was an astounding 170%. With returns like that, it’s clear Cathie Wood knows what she’s talking about when she picks a stock. So, we’re taking a look at three of her stock choices, all from the ‘top 10’ of her firm’s holdings, by percentage weight within the portfolio. Using the TipRanks platform, we’ve found that, according to some Street analysts, each has at least 40% upside potential for the coming year. Let’s get the lowdown. Teladoc Health, Inc. (TDOC) The first stock on our list, Teladoc, was one of the ‘early adopter’ companies in the telehealth sector, making remote medical care available for non-emergency issues. Patients can use Teladoc to consult on ear-nose-throat matters, lab referrals, basic diagnoses and medical advice, and prescription refills for non-addictive substances. Teladoc bills its service as offering remote house calls by primary care doctors. Despite the obvious benefits of Teladoc’s service during the pandemic year, and steadily rising revenues, the company’s stock has underperformed the broader markets in the last 12 months. A look at the most recent quarterly report – for 1Q21 – will shed some light. The company reported $453.6 million at the top line, up an impressive 150% year-over-year. Earnings, however, told a different story. At $199.6 million, the net loss in Q1 was much deeper than the year-ago quarter’s $29.6 million loss. Per share, the loss came to $1.31, compared to just 40 cents one year earlier. The losses weighed on investors’ minds, but the company guidance was more worrisome. Management predicts that paid membership will be flat yoy in 2021. The stock fell 10% after the earnings release. Cathie Wood, however, started buying shares, taking advantage of the dip in price to increase her holdings of TDOC. Her firm bought up more than 716K shares, worth over $122 million at the time of purchase. Teladoc is Ark’s #2 holding, making up over 6% of the fund’s portfolio. While BTIG analyst David Larsen notes investors’ concerns, he believes the long-term outlook for the company remains positive. “The issue that may weigh on the stock, is 2021 membership guidance of 52 – 54M (+2% y/y) was left unchanged,” Larsen said. “Despite this headwind we still like the company and the