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Europe’s week: Israel-Palestine conflict and COVID travel pass

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Europe’s week: Israel-Palestine conflict and COVID travel pass
Copyright  Maya Alleruzzo/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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The eleven-day long conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants -- who agreed a ceasefire on Thursday -- got most of the headlines this week in Brussels.

The escalating violence was the reason for an emergency meeting of EU foreign ministers on Tuesday to discuss diplomatic efforts to end the fighting.

But before the politicians met via video conference, the deputy ambassador of the Israeli mission to the EU, Walid Abu-Haya, asked the EU to “stand with Israel”.

Abu-Haya stated, speaking to Euronews, that Israel “needs Europe to denounce very clearly and strongly Hamas”.

Hungary on its own

The meeting of EU foreign ministers, by video, ended with a statement calling for a ceasefire and criticising the number of civilian deaths.

The communiqué, however, also exposed the EU's divisions over policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell conceded that only 26 EU member states had agreed to the statement with Hungary being the lone dissenter not to endorse his remarks.

Hungary’s foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, said later in the week that those statements are “very much one-sided”.

Europe starts its reopening

This week had great news for all those wanting to travel this summer. Both for Europeans and for those coming from non-EU countries.

On Wednesday, EU ambassadors agreed to open the bloc's borders to travellers from non-EU countries, providing they have been fully vaccinated.

They would need to be immunised 14 days before they enter the EU with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency.

This opens the door to citizens from the UK and the US who have been fully vaccinated.

European citizens will also be allowed to travel easier after the provisional agreement on the COVID travel pass.

The document will be operational by July 1 and will include information about vaccination, tests and recovery from the illness.

Only vaccines approved by EMA will be accepted but individual countries might accept other ones to enter

The tourism sector in the EU is ready for the summer. Especially the airlines and airports, after the 14 worst months in history.