EU member states agreed on Wednesday on a coordinated approach to open the bloc’s borders to vaccinated non-EU nationals. “EU ambassadors agreed to update the approach to travel from outside the European Union,” Christian Wigand, the European Commission’s spokesperson on justice affairs announced at the daily press briefing.
“The Council [of the European Union] will now recommend that member states lift some of the current restrictions, in particular for those vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine,” he said, referring to the four jabs authorized by the European Medicine Agency.
The bloc decided to restrict non-EU nationals' entry to its territories last March in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this month, the European Commission proposed that EU member states allow non-EU travelers to enter if they have received EU-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before their arrival.
Currently four vaccines – Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson – are authorized by the EMA.
The decision has yet to be formally approved by EU governments, and it will enter into force in late June the earliest when the bloc starts to apply the COVID-19 certificate system for its own citizens.
In addition to that, EU countries will also expand the list of countries with great epidemiological situations whose citizens can enter the bloc regardless of their vaccination status.
Currently, only residents of Australia, China, New Zealand, Rwanda, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand can travel with any non-essential reason to the EU.