The European Union commission has unveiled plans to ease restrictions on non-essential travel into the region this summer.
Officials plan to admit travellers from countries with “a good epidemiological situation,” as well as those who have had two doses of an EU-approved vaccine.
At the same time, the emergence of coronavirus variants of concern calls for continued vigilance, a statement said.
Therefore as counter-balance, the commission has proposed a new ‘emergency brake’ mechanism, to be coordinated at EU level and which would limit the risk of such variants entering the EU.
This will allow countries to act quickly and temporarily limit to a strict minimum all travel from affected countries for the time needed to put in place appropriate sanitary measures.
“Time to revive EU tourism industry and for cross-border friendships to rekindle – safely,” EU commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted.
The bloc has already announced plans for a digital certificate, which would cover anyone who is either vaccinated against Covid-19, has a negative test or has recently recovered.
The EU currently only allows non-essential travel from seven countries.
This list is decided by the Council on the basis of epidemiological criteria contained in the current recommendation.
The commission is now proposing to amend the criteria to consider the mounting evidence of the positive impact of vaccination campaigns.
The proposal is to increase the threshold of 14-day cumulative Covid-19 case notification rate from 25 to 100.
This remains considerably below the current EU average, which is over 420.
Discussions on the proposals are ongoing, with more information expected in the coming weeks.