European Union recommends easing restrictions on tourists from U.S.

World News

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union (EU) formally recommended that member countries start lifting restrictions on tourists from the U.S. and a number of other countries on Friday.

The recommendation added Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan and the U.S. to the list of countries where member states are urged to allow non-essential travel from. It applies to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated travelers.

The European Council updates the list based on epidemiological data every two weeks.

The move was adopted on Wednesday during a meeting in Brussels of permanent representatives to the 27-nation bloc and officially endorsed by the European Council Friday.

The recommendation is non-binding, and national governments have authority to require test results or vaccination records and to set other entry conditions.

The EU has no unified COVID tourism or border policy but has been working for months on a joint digital travel certificate for those vaccinated, freshly tested, or recently recovered from the virus. EU lawmakers endorsed the plan last week.

The free certificates, which will contain a QR code with advanced security features, will allow people to move between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests upon arrival.

Several EU countries have already begun using the system, including Spain, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland.

The rest are expected to start using it from 1 July.

It’s mainly meant for EU citizens, but Americans and others can obtain the certificate too – if they can convince authorities in any EU country they’re entering that they qualify for one. And the lack of an official U.S. vaccination certification system may complicate matters.

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