Several European Union countries, which are highly dependent on tourism for the health of their economies, have begun to pressure their counterparts to open their bloc of countries to travelers from outside the EU. It is believed that this impulse will be emphasized at a summit that will take place at the end of March.
The EU as a whole essentially banned non-essential travel, including tourism, a year ago, while countries around the world struggled to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including its own from elsewhere. Several EU countries have even closed their borders to other EU countries for a while.
Today, the focus is on balancing the security of EU citizens and reopening the bloc to boost economic health, as more and more people are vaccinated against the virus across the region.
Regardless, several EU countries are seeking to remove some restrictions themselves if an agreement does not occur. However, if the EU as a whole does not do so, it is not certain what would happen if a traveler entered one of the countries that relaxed the restrictions and then went to another that did not.
One of the countries with plans to loosen restrictions is Greece. It intends to allow tourists from outside the EU who have been vaccinated or have evidence of antibodies or a negative test result to start being allowed to enter on 14 May.
Meanwhile, Cyprus is trying to open up to vaccinated individuals from the UK on May 1, although the UK is planning to not allow its citizens to make any non-essential international travel until 17 May. arrangement related to Israeli tourists from April 1st.
In addition, France has started to allow non-essential visitors from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom to enter the country, as long as they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result from a test that it had been taken within 72 hours of traveling to France.
Spain and the Portuguese region of Madeira have also revealed plans to reopen vaccination.
In addition, the EU initially proposed to relax restrictions on visitors from outside the EU in July, based on countries with low infection rates. However, that list has shrunk over time. It currently owns Australia, China, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. In addition, EU countries have been allowed to make their own judgments on whether to join it or not.
Within the EU, the country that vaccinated the highest percentage of people is Malta: 27%. This country is followed by Hungary (16%), Denmark (14%), Iceland (14%), Lithuania (12%), Estonia (12%) and Norway (12%). Meanwhile, the UK and Serbia outside the EU are left with 36% and 27%.