Dr Hilary discusses travelling to Greece
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The European Commission President said the bloc was in advanced talks with the United States to kickstart non-essential travel after it ground to halt more than a year ago. She cited that the US’ rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines is one of the reasons why restrictions on foreign holidays could be lifted. Mrs von der Leyen revealed that there are current high-level talks between Brussels and Washington over how vaccine passports could be used to reopen transatlantic routes.
She told the New York Times: “The Americans, as far as I can see, use European Medicines Agency-approved vaccines.
“Because one thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by the EMA.”
The US is currently rolling out the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, which are also approved for use across the EU by the European Medicines Agency.
While Mrs von der Leyen refused to set out a timeline for the resumption of transatlantic foreign holidays, she said the US was “on track” and making “huge progress” with its jabs drive.
She said the travel reboot would depend “on the epidemiological situation, but the situation is improving in the United States, as it is, hopefully, also improving in the European Union.”
EU diplomats from across the member states are due to hold further talks on whether to lift restrictions on non-essential travel into the bloc.
Countries like Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal have pushed hard for borders to be reopened to help boost their pandemic-stricken economies.
Ultimately member states have complete control over their borders and are currently only following EU-wide restrictions recommended by Brussels.
Athens has already opened its doors to American tourists in the hope of delivering a massive boost to their ailing tourism industry.
Currently only countries with very low levels of coronavirus infections, such as New Zealand, Australia and South Korea, are exempt from the measures.
A host of EU nations have also made representations about allowing Britons to travel to the bloc this summer.
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Britain and the US are considered world-leaders when it comes to delivering coronavirus vaccines.
Britain’s impressive vaccine rollout has now delivered at least one dose to half of the population – with more than 45 million jabs administer.
The US has also been racing on, delivering shots to some 41 percent of its population – more than 225 million coronavirus vaccines.
In contrast, has only administered its immunisations at a rate of 29 per 100 people.
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EU diplomats are set to meat to discuss whether travel restrictions can be lifted.
But insiders have expressed displeasure with Mrs von der Leyen for unilaterally inviting American tourists to the bloc.
One source said: “Isn’t it the member states that decide who to let in?
“Can she also decide this for the UK… and why hasn’t she done this already?”
EU officials confirmed no discussions have been held with UK counterparts over the possibility of resuming non-essential travel.
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