EU to ease restrictions for vaccinated travellers from non-EU countries

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The 27 Members States of the European Union want to reopen their borders to tourists from outside the EU if they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

In the run-up to the summer season, the ambassadors of the 27 Member States supported a proposal by the Commission to relax entry restrictions for travellers from non-EU countries who are fully vaccinated with a Covid-19 vaccine authorised in the EU, a spokesperson said.

"The Council should also soon expand the list of non-EU countries with a good epidemiological situation from where travel is permitted based on the new criteria agreed today," spokesperson Christian Wigand said.

Non-essential travel to the EU is currently only possible for residents of some ten "safe" countries. Essential travel, for example for diplomats and doctors, was and remains possible.

At the same time, the Council agreed on a new emergency brake mechanism to limit the risk of coronavirus variants entering the EU, allowing Member States to act quickly and in a coordinated manner.

"We welcome this agreement," Wigand said, underlining that it was reached not even two weeks following the Commission's proposal.

"This will help progressively resuming international inbound travel where it is possible to do so safely, while at the same time ensuring quick action to counter the spread of new virus variants," he added.

It only concerns a recommendation from the Commission, with Member States retaining the final say on who they allow onto their territory.

However, the Member States are trying to coordinate their decisions on entry from non-EU countries as much as possible, because, in principle, there are no border controls within the EU/Schengen area.

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