Brussels (dpa) – Europe unlocks – at least when it comes to the European Commission. The Brussels authority proposed on Monday to significantly relax the restrictions imposed due to the corona pandemic for non-essential entries into the European Union.
After more than a year of strict entry bans, vaccinated people from all over the world could soon travel to the EU without any problems – regardless of the epidemiological situation in their home country.
It’s time to get European tourism back on track and revive cross-border friendships, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. However, these are initially only proposals that the EU states must now discuss. The decision as to who may enter is ultimately up to each individual country. The 27 states have been looking for a unified line since the start of the pandemic. A Commission official said on Monday that he hoped the – legally non-binding – recommendations would take effect by the end of May.
In particular, the European Commission proposes to remove restrictions on access to the EU for fully vaccinated people. Vaccinations with EU approved preparations from Biontech / Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca and Johnson & Johnson must be recognized.
The innovation would not mean that travelers generally no longer have to meet requirements such as a PCR test or quarantine. If the EU countries do not impose such requirements on people in their own country, they should not apply to immigrants, the European Commission emphasized. Children who cannot currently be vaccinated and who are traveling with their vaccinated parents must also enter the country with a negative PCR test. Some EU countries allow already vaccinated people to enter the country.
However, according to the proposals of the European Commission, many people who have not been vaccinated could also enter the country in the future. At the moment, tourists are only allowed in from seven non-EU countries where the virus situation is good, without compelling reason. The criteria for this are, for example, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days, the test rate and the positive rate in a country.
The European Commission now wants to soften at least one criterion. The limit for the number of new infections will be increased from 25 to 100. This is still well below the EU average of more than 420.
Exceptions already apply to family members, medical personnel and diplomats. All EU countries except Ireland and the non-EU countries Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland had already agreed on a comprehensive access block for non-essential travel at the start of the corona crisis.
In the event that the epidemiological situation in a country deteriorates rapidly, mainly due to a worrying virus variant, the European Commission proposes a kind of emergency brake. Then an EU country could immediately restrict entry from this country again. In addition, the EU states must coordinate with each other.
The EU is currently not only promoting immigration from outside the country. At the same time, the international community is working on a Covid certificate to make travel within the EU easier. This document stores vaccinations, tests, and surviving infections.