Europe Prepares to Welcome Americans Back Soon, Agrees To Ease Travel Restrictions

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Caroline Kucera Contributor
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European Union members have agreed Wednesday morning in Brussels, Belgium, to add the U.S. to the list of countries for which they will gradually lift restrictions on non-essential travel. 

The U.S. has been placed on the coveted “White List” of countries whose residents will be welcome to enter the E.U. no matter their vaccination status, according to The Independent. North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Lebanon and Taiwan were also added to the list. The new recommendation, however, is non-binding, and individual countries can require testing or set other conditions for entry, such as quarantines, The Independent reported. 

Some countries have already allowed Americans to visit, while others — such as Belgium — are slower to welcome them back. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that a careful approach to travel should still be taken, according to The Associated Press (AP).

“Let’s look at science and let’s look at the progress. Let’s look at the numbers and when it’s safe, we will do it,” De Croo said. “The moment that we see that a big part of the population is double-vaccinated and can prove that they are safe, travel will pick up again. And I would expect that over the course of this summer.”

Formal recommendations and guidelines for the entire E.U. are set to be made Friday.

While the E.U. does not yet have a unified tourism or border policy regarding COVID-19, it has been working on a joint digital travel certificate that would allow certain individuals to move between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra testing upon arrival, The AP reported. These individuals include those who are vaccinated, newly tested or recently recovered from the virus. (RELATED: How The US Crushed Europe on COVID-19)

The certificate is mainly meant for citizens of the E.U., but Americans can obtain one if they prove they meet the qualifications. Several countries including Belgium, Spain, Croatia, and Greece have already adopted the system, while others expect to begin July 1, making travel between destinations more seamless, The AP reported.