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EU states agree to allow entry to bloc for vaccinated travellers

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By Euronews with AFP
A member of Civil Protection checks air travellers documents at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport
A member of Civil Protection checks air travellers documents at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport   -   Copyright  Gonzalo Fuentes/AP
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Ambassadors for EU members states have agreed to measures allowing vaccinated travellers from third countries into the bloc, according to an EU spokesman.

Commission spokesman Christian Wigand told reporters on Wednesday that representatives of the countries had come to an agreement, but it still needed to be formally adopted by the European Council.

It was something “which we understand will happen very soon”, he said.

With the summer tourist season approaching, the ambassadors of the 27 countries approved the recommendation which was proposed by the European Commission.

The EU is trying to coordinate its external border measures, given their impact on free movement within the bloc.

The proposal will allow entry to the European Union for those who have received the necessary doses of EU-approved vaccines against COVID-19.

The EU closed its external borders in March 2020 for "non-essential" travel and established from June a regularly reviewed shortlist of third countries whose residents - vaccinated or not - can enter the bloc.

The list currently comprises Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and China.

The ambassadors also agreed on loosening the requirements for countries to make this list.

“What will be adopted are the criteria for revising the list and also for the other recommendation on making it possible for vaccinated travellers to come to Europe,” said Wigand.

He could not give a timeline on when third country travellers could start making bookings to visit the EU, but said “we have seen in the past the Council moving very quickly on this”.

At the same time, Member States have agreed to set up a coordinated emergency mechanism to rapidly suspend third country arrivals in the event of a deterioration in the health situation due to the appearance of coronavirus variants.