Sat | Jun 19, 2021

EU lawmakers OK virus pass, boosting summer travel hopes

Published:Wednesday | June 9, 2021 | 10:07 AM
People sunbathe on the beach in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Spain is jumpstarting its summer tourism season by welcoming vaccinated visitors from most countries as well as European visitors who can prove they are not infected with the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers on Wednesday endorsed a new travel certificate that will allow people to move between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests, paving the way for the pass to start in time for summer.

The widely awaited certificate is aimed at saving Europe's travel industry and prime tourist sites from another disastrous vacation season.

Key travel destinations like Greece have led the drive to have the certificate, which will have both paper and digital forms, rapidly introduced.

Several EU countries have already begun using the system, including Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland.

Right now, travelling in the EU's 27 nations is a trial for tourists and airlines alike.

Countries have various COVID-19 traffic-light systems, where those in green are considered safe and those in red to be avoided.

But each nation is applying different rules and standards, making travel confusing for all.

The new regulations governing the vaccine certificates were adopted in two votes at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

Rules for EU citizens were passed 546 to 93, with 51 abstentions.

Those for people from outside the bloc passed 553 to 91, with 46 abstentions.

The vote must still be rubber-stamped by EU nations, but that's likely a formality.

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