The summer season is almost here, and the European countries are set not to let summer 2020 repeat itself.
European Union Member States, in particular those that heavily rely on tourism, have started to prepare for summer 2021 early at the beginning of the year in an attempt to revive travel to their territory by enabling tourists to safely visit.
Increased testing capacity, total lockdowns at the beginning of the year in a bid to lower the numbers of cases, complete bans on non-essential arrivals, especially from countries with virus mutations, have all been parts of these attempts, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Moreover, the Member States, under the recommendation of the EU, for long now, have been applying traffic light systems in order to differentiate the risk of travel from the rest of the EU countries, imposing restrictions on arrivals based on this system.
The most serious idea within the block has undoubtfully been the creation of the travel certificate, proposed first to the EU Commission by the Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis. While the EU has been working on a unified approach for the creation of such a document, the Member States have moved forward establishing their own schemes, claiming that once the EU’s document is ready, they would align their national document with it.
Last weekend, the EU Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) unanimously showed their support for an agreement on the EU travel certificate, previously reached between the Council and the European Parliament on May 20.
Now for the procedures for the document to be completed, the Council will send a letter to the European Parliament, officially communicating the support of the Coreper on the agreement for the establishment of the certificate.
After the legislation is signed into effect, the regulations will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and apply from July 1.
In the meantime, the journey of each Member State towards the reopening has been different from the others and has often depended on how the country handled the virus at the very start and later on the vaccination campaign rollout.
Recently, countries that rely more on tourism, like Greece, have rushed to facilitate entry restrictions and open to international tourists step by step. Even some countries, like France that at the beginning had a tough stance on the reopening of the borders for international travellers, now are slowly catching the pace.
Below, find out how some of the EU and Schengen Area countries have reopened their borders and are preparing to reopen for international tourists this summer.