After the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warned that the block intends to permit fully vaccinated US travellers to visit the European Union this summer, the block has further moved on to reveal its plans to permit all vaccinated third-country citizens to enter its territory for non-essential purposes.
Last Monday, on May 3, the Commission had unfolded a proposal to the Member States, according to which the latter should gradually start reopening their borders for citizens of third countries, who have been vaccinated against the Coronavirus with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
“The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine,” the Commission said in a press release on the proposal.
The Commission intends to make it possible for vaccinated travellers from third countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, to be permitted to enter the EU countries through the COVID-19 EU travel certificate, which is set to be launched by the end of June.
However, until the certificate is operational, the Member States should be able to accept “certificates from non-EU countries based on national law, taking into account the ability to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate and whether it contains all relevant data,” the Commission says.
At the same time, the EU Commission has also proposed to the Member States to raise the threshold of the number of new COVID-19 cases used to decide the residents of which third countries should be allowed to enter the EU for non-essential purposes, from 25 to as many as 100.
The threshold still remains under the current EU average, which is over 420, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The proposal, which has been sent to the Council, should be adopted by the latter and then it remains to the Member States to implement the measures set out in the recommendation.
Only a few days upon revealing the proposal, the EU has advised the Member States to permit Israeli travellers to enter the Schengen Area and the rest of the EU countries restriction-free for non-essential purposes, including tourism, after the same country recorded a low number of COVID-19 cases in the recent weeks.
The drop in the number of cases is mostly thanks to the intensive vaccination campaign of the Israeli government, with almost 60 per cent of the Israeli population vaccinated against the Coronavirus.
The EU Commission had recommended the closure of the EU external borders back in mid-March 2020, amid the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Europe. Since then, the EU borders have been shut to the majority of world citizens.
On June 30, last year, the EU Council of Ministers published a list of 15 third countries, recommending to the Member States to open the borders to the residents of those third countries. The ‘safe list’ has been reviewed periodically and adjusted depending on the latest Coronavirus developments in each country and continuously narrowed down.