The European Union eases entry restrictions to save the summer tourism season. To this end, the criteria to qualify as a “safe” country will be relaxed and those who have received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be able to enter the territory of the 27 member states from anywhere.
The European Commission’s proposal was adopted yesterday by the ambassadors of member states in Brussels, and Reuters reports that the list of “safe” countries will be updated as early as this week or early next week.
So far, this includes only seven countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Israel, from which tourists can come without vaccination.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, a number of countries, such as the United Kingdom, may be on the list, but not the United States, but full vaccination may come from there.
The main requirement for free travel is to keep the number of newly registered infections below 25 per 100,000 people for 14 days, and this trend should be stable or declining.
Virus variants are also taken into account, which is important for the UK as the Indian mutation is becoming more prevalent there. The commission recommended the use of emergency brakes if 1 in 100 new cases was caused by a variant of a new virus, and the ambassadors tightened this to 75.
Regarding vaccinations, those who have received a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency can travel to the European Union, but they are also considering accepting those who have been vaccinated with a substance approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is not entirely clear what document will be adopted to prove vaccination.
The solution for those concerned would be to be able to use the EU vaccine passport, but the European Commission and Council are still unable to reach an agreement with the European Parliament. The treble again ended in vain on Tuesday and will continue today, but time is running out and Politico realize positions are still far apart.
As for the temporary revocation of the patent on coronavirus vaccines, the European Parliament itself is divided. In yesterday’s debate, several MEPs urged the committee to support the proposal, while others said the suspension would not speed up global vaccine supplies and be detrimental to innovation. Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, emphasized that while the EU is ready to negotiate the patent lifting, it proposes reducing export restrictions, addressing raw material shortages, and investing in developing countries to increase production capacity and increase vaccines. The World Health Organization’s assistance program is called Covax.