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European Union recommends members open borders to vaccinated travelers

European Union recommends members open borders to vaccinated travelers
© Greg Nash

The European Union on Monday proposed that its member states open their borders to nonessential travelers who have been vaccinated and come "from countries with a good epidemiological situation."

In its proposal, the EU acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic still posed an ongoing threat and said this proposal would set up an "emergency brake" mechanism if member states require help in avoiding or limiting the spread of new, more infectious COVID-19 variants.

"On the other hand, the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in third countries, and the subsequent positive effect in limiting the spread of the virus, indicate that there is room to ease travel restrictions, particularly for those already vaccinated," the EU wrote. "In this sense, this proposal aims at progressively resuming travel from third countries in a safe manner, relaunching tourism, especially in view of the summer season, and business travelling, thus fostering the recovery of Europe’s economy.”

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The European bloc argued that scientific evidence had been gathered that demonstrated vaccinations stop the spread of COVID-19.

"This evidence suggests that travel restrictions could be safely waived in certain cases for persons who can demonstrate having received the last recommended dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorised in the EU," the organization wrote.

The proposal also stated that children, who have largely not been approved to receive current COVID-19 vaccines, should be allowed to travel with their vaccinated parents if they test negative for the coronavirus at least 72 hours before crossing an EU border.

Denmark was excluded from this recommendation and would not be subject to its proposed rules.

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told The New York Times in an interview published last week that Europe would allow fully vaccinated Americans to travel to Europe this summer.

“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” von der Leyen told the newspaper. “This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union.”