The governing body of the European Union has proposed that the bloc relax limitations on non-essential travel from 14 countries, including the United States, making it significantly easier for travellers from these countries to vacation in Europe.
The European Council stated on Friday that member states should “gradually lift travel restrictions at external borders” for residents of Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, and China, subject to reciprocity confirmation.
The United Kingdom was notably absent from the list, which is updated every two weeks.
The nations were chosen based on criteria related to the “epidemiological condition and overall reaction to COVID-19, as well as the dependability of the available information and data sources,” according to the European Council. Reciprocity should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to the regulatory body.
While certain nations, such as Greece and Spain, already allow fully vaccinated US passengers and/or those who submit a negative PCR test or meet other special standards to enter, this recommendation might allow Americans to travel to all 27 EU member states. Additional restrictions, such as a mandated quarantine period, a negative PCR test, or confirmation of immunization, will be up to each member state.
The announcement comes more than a year after non-essential travel from the United States to the European Union was prohibited. Non-US citizens who have recently visited the EU or the United Kingdom are currently restricted from entering the United States.
In 2019, US passengers travelled to Europe in excess of 36 million times, but according to figures from the European Travel Commission, that number decreased to 6.6 million in 2018. In reality, as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic, overseas immigration in Europe fell by 70% in 2020 compared to 2019.