The European Union (EU) Wednesday announced it is recommending that member nations lift COVID-19 restrictions on tourists from the United States, potentially making it easier for U.S. tourists to travel to Europe.
Nonessential travel from the U.S. and other nations had been banned in the EU as a precaution to avoid the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. But EU member representatives, meeting in Brussels, agreed Wednesday to add the U.S. to the list of nations from which the ban may be lifted.
The recommendation is non-binding, and national governments have authority to require test results or vaccination records and to set other entry conditions.
EU officials said the decision to add the U.S. to the list was based on the pace of the U.S. vaccination process, among other factors.
In addition to the U.S., EU representatives also added North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Lebanon and Taiwan to the tourist travel list. The recommendations are expected to be formalized on Friday and come into effect immediately.
The move is part of an attempt to restore tourism within and from outside the bloc. Travel into the EU was all but suspended throughout most of the pandemic, causing tourism-dependent national economies to suffer. Last week, the EU approved digital COVID-19 certificates for fully vaccinated citizens to use during travel among the 27 EU member nations.