The European Union (E.U.) plans to welcome fully vaccinated Americans tourists back to European soil as soon as this summer.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, teased this exciting news in a recent interview with The New York Times—though she did not provide specific dates, or details as to how the plan will unfold.
“The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines,” she said, referencing the trio of vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States: those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
“This will enable free movement and the travel to the European Union,” von der Leyen added, “Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by E.M.A.”
If this plan goes ahead, it will mark a major step back toward normalcy for both American travelers and the E.U. alike.
Nonessential travel to most E.U. member countries has been banned for over a year—though the bloc has recently opened its borders to tourists from countries like Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and South Korea, while some tourism-dependent countries, such as Greece, are already welcoming back vaccinated Americans.
Von der Leyen pointed to the U.S.’ rapid vaccination rate as the reason Americans could soon be welcomed back to the E.U. en masse. However, she also noted that the situation could change, depending on the “on the epidemiological situation, but the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union.”
In other words, if either region experiences another wave, the plan to welcome American back to Europe could be delayed.
Will you be returning to soil once you’ve been vaccinated? If so, which country are you planning on visiting?