Could EU’s proposed ‘person-based’ travel rules make Euro holidays easier for Brits?

Jan 21, 2022

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In an everchanging world of travel where restrictions and rules can turn at the drop of a hat, the EU could be about to make the continent more of an even playing field for tourists.

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Presently, the blanket travel criteria for many EU member states puts the emphasis on the traveller’s country of departure as opposed to the person’s own vaccine history. But as reported by Politico, the EU is set to take a new approach to pandemic travel which would mean a shift to person-based travel rules – meaning that visitors from the EU to a country inside the bloc with a valid COVID-19 certificate would not face additional testing or quarantine requirements.

While these specific changes won’t necessarily be immediately put in place for the U.K. as well, this does mark an evolution of sorts for the European Union’s stance on COVID-19 restrictions and opens the door for the potential easing of regulations for countries outside of the bloc.

The good news, for now, is that many European states have slowly started to walk back those extra pre-Christmas restrictions implemented from December’s surge in the fast-spreading Omicron variant, both freeing up travel within the continent and beyond – including for U.K. travellers.

Related: TPG reader question: Do I need printed copies of my COVID-19 documents for travel?

Domestically, countries within the EU could still enforce additional rules for travel from areas designated ‘high risk’ on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s coronavirus map.

Currently, this status applies to a large proportion of the bloc, however, the risk map doesn’t take into account a region’s vaccination rates. If these new changes are implemented, as suggested by three EU diplomats on Thursday, vax rates would factor in alongside new cases, positive numbers and testing rates.

(The Berliner Fernsehturm television tower in central Berlin, GermanyPhoto by
spreephoto.de/Getty Images)

 

An EU Commission proposal for a person-based risk method for travel within the bloc was first released back in November 2021, suggesting that people with a COVID-19 certificate should, in the words of Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, “in principle not be subject to additional travel restrictions, wherever they come from in the European Union”.

Related: 13 tips for travelling on a budget in Europe

Bottom line

As the proposed rule changes are currently only directed towards nations within the EU it doesn’t mean that there aren’t still the odd hoops to jump through for travel between EU states: just last month it was announced that the European Council had given the green light to make vaccination certificates valid for only nine months. This will be implemented as of February 1. Wider changes however are likely to impact countries outside of the EU in time, which could be a positive for travellers elsewhere.

Expect more updates given on the EU’s potential changes to person-based travel rules at next Tuesday’s General Affairs Council, when, with any luck, will open the doors a bit more widely for city-breakers and business travellers alike.

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