Von der Leyen optimistic vaccinated US tourists can visit EU

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Von Der Leyen Optimistic Vaccinated Us Tourists Can Visit Eu Von Der Leyen Optimistic Vaccinated Us Tourists Can Visit Eu
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, © AP/Press Association Images
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Digital Desk Staff

Fully vaccinated American tourists will be able to visit the European Union over the coming months without restrictions, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said.

As The Irish Times reports, more than a year after restricting non-essential travel from most countries to limit the spread of coronavirus, the head of the EU’s executive arm raised the possibility of relaxing EU-US travel restrictions with the development of vaccine passports to allow people to travel.

The use of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the EU and the US make mutual recognition of vaccination certificates easier to manage and so have the potential to provide a basis for the easing of restrictions.

“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines. This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union,” said Ms von der Leyen in an interview with The New York Times.

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

Technical discussions

The EU is developing vaccine passports known as “digital green certificates” that could be recognised internationally as the bloc reopens travel with the pace of vaccinations increasing.

There have been technical discussions ongoing between the EU and the US on how to recognise each other’s vaccine certificates in order to relax travel restrictions.

She did not give a timeline on when the relaxation in restrictions might take place and said that the 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.”

Her remarks indicate that the EU may permit an easing of relaxations but individual EU member states will still have the right to apply their own limits or restrictions on visitors.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said any EU change to travel restrictions on inbound fully vaccinated visitors from the US are likely to be based around the self-quarantine required, particularly if vaccine strains are circulating in the US that are not widespread in Ireland.

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