The chances to actually get on a plane and go to some parts of Europe this summer are increasing rapidly. Yesterday, the European Union set a deadline for its 27 members to “relax” travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. The crux of this is based on all 27 member states adopting and implementing a digital COVID passport app by the first of July.
The EU is recommending that a fully vaccinated person (two weeks out from their final dose) should be able to travel to and around EU countries without restrictions. EU president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that “Europeans should enjoy a safe and relaxing summer. As vaccination progresses, we propose to gradually ease travel measures in a coordinated way with our common tool: the EU digital covid certificate.”
I believe in a digital transition that puts people at its heart.
Today the EU Digital COVID Certificate goes live. By helping free and safe travel to resume in 🇪🇺, it shows how people benefit from digital progress.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) June 1, 2021
The idea behind the EU implementing “the EU digital certificate” would be the freedom to travel between EU’s 27 countries without having to quarantine. In theory, that would also make it possible for you to go to, say, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Cologne without having to fill in COVID forms at the Belgian, Dutch, and German borders. Instead, you’ll have an app or printed piece of paper with a QR code that’ll have your vaccine dose and dates (and/or PCR test) information already uploaded.
This comes after countries like Spain, Greece, and Iceland opened their borders to fully vaccinated travelers. And that’s where it’s worth adding one caveat. Each EU country can do what they want when it comes to opening and closing their borders, implementing internal lockdowns, quarantines for arrivals, and so forth. Case in point, France and Germany have just restricted most travel from the U.K. due to serious concerns gripping the continent over the Indian variant of the disease spreading like wildfire this summer. At the same time, both Spain and Portugal announced they would allow all travelers from the U.K. to arrive even without a test, much less a vaccine. That means if things go badly in Spain and Portugal, places like France and Germany could close their borders to them, etc.
All of this is to say, that there’s never going to be a magic bullet that “reopens” the 27 countries in the European Union, much less the whole continent. But today’s news indicates that travel could be less restricted by July 1 than previously expected.