Americans who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus may be able to visit European Union countries this summer, the bloc’s executive body chief said.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, told the New York Times on Sunday that vaccination with a vaccine that has been approved by the bloc’s pharmaceutical regulator, the European Medicines Agency, “will allow free movement and travel to the European Union. “
The agency has approved each of the three coronavirus vaccines available in the United States, which have been developed by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson.
“One thing is clear,” she told the newspaper. “The 27 member states will unconditionally accept anyone who is vaccinated with vaccines approved by the EMA.”
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NBC News confirmed von der Leyen’s statements with a spokesperson for the European Commission, who declined to comment further.
A spokesperson for the US mission to the EU in Brussels declined to comment.
A timeline for a potential trip is unclear. The 27-member block will require digital vaccination certificates from travelers as proof of vaccination.
A commission had previously confirmed that talks are underway between the two parties. On Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas spoke with European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders in a virtual meeting where travel was discussed.
Travel also depends on the “epidemiological situation” in the two regions, Von der Leyen told The New York Times, while adding that the United States appeared to be “on the right track” in obtaining collective immunity.
According to an EU-funded report, more American tourists visit the EU than any other country outside the bloc, with 25 million arrivals spending 74 million nights in 2016.
The European Union imposed travel restrictions on most foreigners last March and did not allow travelers from the United States to enter when it reopened its borders in July.
Tim Stelloh reported from New York; Patrick Smith reported from London.