American tourists who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed to visit the European Union this summer, according to officials in Brussels.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, says she expects all 27 EU member states will accept travelers who’ve received COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency. That would include the three vaccines that have been authorized for use in the United States — Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer/BioNTech.
“This will enable free movement and travel to the European Union,” von der Leyen said Sunday in an interview with the New York Times, which first reported the story.
It is not yet clear when the EU will open up — von der Leyen did not provide a specific timeline, and individual EU member states are permitted to enforce stricter rules than the bloc as a whole. It is also unclear how countries will determine if travelers have been fully vaccinated, but nations and air carriers in Europe have been discussing the use of vaccine passports or vaccine certificates for months.
The International Air Transport Association — a trade association that accounts for 82% of total air traffic — is developing an app that will allow passengers to share tests and vaccination results with governments. The software is designed to help reopen borders without quarantine and revive the global airline industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic.
Even as the EU is sending positive signals to American travelers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning them not to travel to much of Europe, at least not yet. The CDC website warns Americans not to go Greece, Italy, Spain or even the United Kingdom, where more than half of the population has already received a first vaccine dose and outdoor beer gardens have reopened along with non-essential shops.