British travellers will be welcome in the EU this summer if coronavirus restrictions are lifted in time, the European Commission said on Wednesday
Brussels is investigating ways to save the summer holidays by encouraging tourism between its member states. More than three quarters of trips made by EU citizens are to other EU countries.
Vera Jourova, a vice-president in the EU executive, called on the bloc’s member states to lift travel bans and border controls thrown up in response to the pandemic “as soon as possible” after it was deemed safe by scientific advice.
She moved to quash fears that Britons might not be able to benefit from EU moves to allow tourism this summer season because of, among other issues, the UK response to Coronavirus.
“It’s quite clear that we do not want to have a discrimination. There shouldn’t be any selection of who can enter the country and who cannot have the basis of citizenship or nationality,” Ms Jourova said in Brussels after the weekly meeting of the “college of commissioners”.
“This is the principle we want to maintain in the tourism debate,” she said before adding the commission would publish a strategy document on May 13.
Although Britain left the EU on January 31, its membership of the Single Market and Customs Union is temporarily preserved by the Brexit transition period, which is due to expire at the end of the year.
Ministers meeting by video conference in Brussels have discussed creating “tourism corridors” with common protocols between EU countries.
But the UK is not entitled to attend EU meetings where the responses to the coronavirus crisis are discussed or have representation in the EU institutions.
The EU introduced a travel ban on non-essential travel into the bloc by non-EU citizens, as member countries threw up borders in the passport-free Schengen Zone in March. UK citizens were not included in the ban.