British holidaymakers given major boost as EU outlines plans to reopen borders
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The European Commission said UK travellers are “certainly” part of its plans when the bloc reopens for foreign travel in the coming months. Eurocrats are already working on a scheme to recognise a British vaccines passport amid growing pressure from Mediterranean states to kick-start their ailing tourism industries. Sources say Spain is primed to throw open its borders rather than face another miserable summer without hordes of British holidaymakers.
EU commissioner Didier Reynders suggested the bloc was ready to admit UK tourists whether or not they have been vaccinated.
The Belgian told reporters he wants to open talks with Downing Street to ensure the bloc is prepared for welcoming Britons.
He said eurocrats are already working on a regulation that would allow EU member states to accept any coronavirus travel documents devised by No10.
“We are working now with the World Health Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation to see how it’s possible to organise an international solution,” Mr Reynders said.
In a nod to our highly successful vaccines rollout, the top eurocrat listed the UK and United States as possible destinations from where the EU is ready to welcome tourists from.
Non-essential travel to Europe is currently banned under pandemic restrictions enforced by the Commission.
Under the rules, most arriving on the Continent face stringent testing and quarantine measures.
Brussels hopes its plans for an EU-wide vaccines passport will eliminate the checks on those travelling between member states.
But the scheme should also be opened up to the UK when it is expected to launch by the end of June.
Mr Reynders added: “With some bilateral partners, like the UK and US, it will be possible to adopt a sort of adequacy decision to decide that we recognise a certificate issued not only by a member states of the EU but also by third countries.”
The Commission initially planned to use its so-called “Digital Green Pass” to kick-start travel between EU nations.
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The scheme will recognise travellers either with a vaccination, anti-bodies from a recent infection or a negative Covid test.
But pressure from a growing list of member states, including Spain, Portugal and Greece, has forced eurocrats to ensure UK travellers will be allowed to enter the bloc.
Some capitals suggested they would unilaterally scrap the EU-ordered travel restrictions to boost their pandemic-stricken economies.
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British officials have been told the Spanish government is willing to ditch the restrictions as our vaccination campaign goes from strength to strength and infection rates continue to fall.
Madrid was said to be putting an “awful lot of pressure” on Brussels to exempt UK tourists from the EU’s ban on non-essential travellers.
They are hoping that numbers quickly bounce back to pre-pandemic levels when some 18 million Britons visited Spain every year.
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