Greece is already open to Americans. France says it is opening June 9. Spain has said it is opening. Now the European Union has come to an agreement to accept vaccinated visitors this summer, and this is expected to be passed by member states. The specific re-opening date when Americans will be able to enter without a Covid-19 test or quarantine remains to be set, as countries determine how they plan to verify vaccination.
According to a spokesperson for the EU,
E.U. leaders will need to give formal approval next week to the plan that was agreed by their ambassadors on Wednesday, but their sign-off is not in doubt.
The E.U. plans to recognize vaccines that are approved by its own regulatory agency, and that includes all of the vaccines in use in the United States (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) as well as AstraZeneca. It does not include China’s Sinovac’s Coronavac or Russia’s Sputnik V. Full vaccination will be required, meaning a single Johnson & Johnson shot is acceptable while a single Pfizer shot is not. Restrictions on travel could be put back into place if infections spike in a specific country.
Meanwhile the E.U. is working on its own ‘Covid passport’ scheme of verifying vaccination or testing to relax travel restrictions within the Schengen area of European countries.
Cases in Europe are on the decline, and vaccination is becoming more widespread. That, together with any seasonal effects, should put Europe in a strong position against the virus in the coming weeks.
Europe is rushing to open because countries within Europe are already opening. Put another way, the European Commission is ‘leading from behind’. Countries that are reliant on tourism are planning to go ahead whether Europe has its own framework or not.