EU to support border reopening to British travelers, says Portugal

Published on : Monday, May 17, 2021

This week, Portugal is hoping that the EU will follow its instances by suggesting that the other 26 member states reopen their borders to British tourists. The secretary of state tourism, Rita Marques, explained that Lisbon was quite sure that the EU would change its current recommendation that EU countries allow only essential travel from the UK, providing the green signal to Europe in welcoming the British holidaymakers back. The Council of EU member states is hoped to add the UK to the list of third countries this week, approved for non-essential travel to the EU later, said Marques. To quote Marques, “We know that the commission is going to reassess the concrete situation of the UK and, in principle, according to the information we have, this revision [of the EU’s travel recommendations] will be favorable to the UK.”


On May 3rd, the European Commission proposed that the member states simplify the restrictions on non-essential travel from third countries to take into account vaccination campaign progress and other epidemiological developments all over the world. From midnight on Sunday, Portugal will welcome tourists from the UK and some EU countries, provided the infection rates in their countries are lower than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Also, passengers will have to show a negative PCR test made within 72 hours before departure.


Marques explained that the anticipated addition of the UK to the list of third countries greenlighted for non-essential travel to the EU, meant Portugal was at the forefront of the rest of the bloc slightly in opening up to British visitors.

Portugal has used its rotating presidency of the EU Council, which ends next month, to push for the creation of a “green digital certificate”. This would enable people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or otherwise immune to travel freely within the bloc. Marques is confident the certificate will be ready by June. “Our aim is to abandon country-to-country travel regulations and move to a system where the rules are based on the epidemiological situation of the individual person,” she said.


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