By Ron Howells • 12 June 2021 • 22:23
European Commission Confirms July 1 Reopening For International Travel. image: Wikipedia
European Commission Confirms July 1 Reopening For International Travel.
Airline leaders have been told by the European Commission that it is committed to a resumption of international travel within the EU from July 1, raising hopes of a boost in tourism for the summer.
However, a full restart between Europe and the US could take longer, European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told an Airlines for Europe (A4E) via a virtual summit.
Reynders said: “We’re trying to implement a lifting of restrictions for July 1. We have agreed on a document, the Digital Covid Certificate, and it will be recognised in every member state. It will become binding from July.
“We’re sure that for the first time during the pandemic we will provide the means for airlines to come back. For the first time we are going in the right direction. We are equipped now to have the first good season.”
Asked if he was confident the certification scheme would work this summer, Reynders insisted: “I am quite sure.”
He also told the summit of major European airlines: “We make recommendations to member states on how to lift restrictions [and] we have discussions now not to have additional restrictions for those who are vaccinated.”
Reynders made no mention of travel specifically to and from the UK, but mutual recognition by the EU of the UK NHS vaccination certificate and by the UK of the EU Digital Covid Certificate is expected.
The discussions regarding a restart of travel to the US focused on the recognition of vaccinated passengers since the US government has no plans to introduce a national Covid certificate- although it has sanctioned international travel for those that are fully vaccinated.
Reynders said: “We start to discuss with the US but until now it does not seem there is a plan for a Federal certificate, so we have to agree on how to do it. It’s possible it will be possible to travel from the US to the EU with proof of vaccination. We are in discussions to see if it will be possible to go the other way to the US.”
He noted an EU-US summit on June 15 could move things forward, saying: “The intention is to start again.” Reynders suggested that “presenting that intention” would be the most likely outcome of the summit.
US president Joe Biden and UK prime minister Boris Johnson agreed to set up a taskforce to examine how to restart US-UK travel ahead of the G7 summit in the UK this week.
When quizzed about the lack of EU coordination through much of the crisis, Reynders said: “We are sure it will be better now than at the start of the pandemic. The certificate is no more a recommendation, it is binding. Member states agreed to use it. Now we have a binding instrument. We want to avoid fragmentation. For example, do you need a negative test 48 hours before travel or 72 hours before? It must be possible to agree.
“It’s easier to coordinate, to work together when lifting restrictions than when adding restrictions.”
Iata director-general Willie Walsh told the summit: “I would have expected Europe to do better and to coordinate better. We’ve seen so many different decisions with no real evidence they are based on health risks and much more evidence that they are based on political risk.”
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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