EU chief says bloc will let vaccinated Americans visit this summer

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BRUSSELS (NYTIMES) – American tourists who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to visit the European Union over the summer, the head of the bloc’s executive body said in an interview with The New York Times on Sunday (April 25), more than a year after shutting down non-essential travel from most countries to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The fast pace of vaccination in the United States, and advanced talks between US authorities and the European Union over how to make vaccine certificates acceptable as proof of immunity for visitors, will enable the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, to recommend a switch in policy that could see trans-Atlantic leisure travel restored.

“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said Sunday in an interview with the Times in Brussels.

“This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.

“Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA,” she added.

The agency, the bloc’s drugs regulator, has approved all three vaccines being used in the United States, namely the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson shots.

Von der Leyen did not offer a timeline on when tourist travel might open up or details on how it would occur. But her comments are a top-level statement that the current travel restrictions are set to change on the basis of vaccination certificates.

She noted that the US was “on track” and making “huge progress” with its campaign to reach so-called herd immunity, or the vaccination of 70% of adults, by mid-June.

She added that resumption of travel would depend “on the epidemiological situation, but the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union.”

Diplomats from Europe’s tourist destination countries, mostly led by Greece, have argued for weeks that the bloc’s criteria for determining whether a country is a