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EU to lift travel restrictions on U.S. tourists



BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union is recommending that its 27 member countries start lifting restrictions on tourists from the United States.


EU members agreed Wednesday to add the U.S. to the list of countries for which they should gradually remove restrictions on nonessential travel. The move was adopted during a meeting in Brussels of permanent representatives to the bloc.


The recommendation is non-binding, and national governments have authority to require test results or vaccination records and to set other entry conditions.


The EU has no unified Covid-19 tourism or border policy, but has been working for months on a joint digital travel certificate for those vaccinated, freshly tested, or recently recovered from the virus. EU lawmakers endorsed the plan last week.


The free certificates, which will contain a QR code with advanced security features, will allow people to move between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests upon arrival.


Several EU countries have already begun using the system, including Belgium, Spain, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland. The rest are expected to start using it July 1.


It's mainly meant for EU citizens, but Americans and others can obtain the certificate too -- if they can convince authorities in an EU country they're entering that they qualify for one. And the lack of an official U.S. vaccination certification system may complicate matters.


Some EU countries have already started allowing in American visitors, though. On the other hand, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said this week a careful and phased-in approach should remain the rule.





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