The new regime aligns with the Recommendation adopted in January regarding intra-EU travel, and thus further strengthens the principle of travel criteria based on travelers’ personal health status rather than on the epidemiological situation of the country or area of departure.
Airports and airlines both pointed to the body of evidence supporting this approach, with unequivocal guidance from the World Health Organization along with independent third party research showing that travel restrictions have little or no impact on epidemiological spread.
The Recommendation for external travelers says:
- EU States should accept all travelers fully vaccinated with EU-approved vaccines without any restrictions or conditions
- EU States should accept all travelers fully vaccinated with other WHO listed vaccines and recovered travelers either without any restrictions / conditions or only with the requirement of a negative pre-departure PCR test.
- EU States could also fully accept fully vaccinated travelers not holding a valid EU digital COVID certificate or equivalent, subject to a negative pre-departure PCR test.
While the Recommendation is an undoubted step forward, the industry called for EU States to move further, towards an unconditional acceptance of all WHO-approved vaccines, and also replacing PCR with rapid antigen testing options.
“We now know beyond any doubt that a regime based on travelers’ personal health status is right for individuals, for economies and for societies. There is no evidence to support any other approach. As the safe resumption of air connectivity gathers pace, it is vital that Member States implement this Recommendation, bringing structure, predictability, and harmonization to the benefit of all,” said Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE.
“We welcome this logical Recommendation by the European Council. A vaccinated traveler from outside the EU should be treated no differently to one inside the EU. Though we urge Member States to implement this Recommendation as an important step towards living normally with this virus, it is important that the EU considers more flexibility on the approved vaccine list,” said Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Europe.