EU ‘doing utmost’ to open doors for British holidaymakers this summer
The EU will do its “utmost” to ensure British tourists can visit the continent this summer, the European Commission vice-president has said.
Amid concerns over the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant within the UK, Maros Sefcovic said the bloc was working on a digital Covid certificate to enable travellers to return, and stressed that “Europeans would like to welcome British tourists”.
“We have a lot of personal links built over the years and I believe that in the future we would focus on how to build a strategic partnership between the EU and the UK,” Sefcovic told BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.
“I’m sure that we’ll do our utmost provided that the health situation would warrant it to make sure we can also open doors for British holidaymakers in the summer.”
The UK has lower infection rates than much of Europe but a rise in cases of the Indian variant has so far delayed its addition to the EUs “white list” of countries from where tourists will be accepted.
Although Portugal is currently the only European country on the Government’s green list, meaning anyone returning will not need to quarantine, a handful of amber list countries have already embraced British tourists, including Greece and Spain.
In response to the growing prevalence of the Indian variant within the UK, France, Germany and Austria have recently tightened rules for British holidaymakers.
UK arrivals in Germany are subject to a two-week quarantine, while from Monday, anyone travelling to France from Britain will be forced to quarantine for seven days on arrival. Austria has banned direct flights from the UK from 1 June.
However, it is hoped the EU’s digital Covid passport system, which is expected to be operational by 1 July, will allow UK tourists to visit Europe with more ease.
A QR code on the certificate, which can be scanned by border guards, will include information such as proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.