Under current restrictions, people from only seven countries, including Australia and Singapore, can enter the EU on holiday, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated but subject to tests or quarantine.
New proposals from the the EU’s executive would allow in fully vaccinated foreign citizens and those from countries with a “good epidemiological situation”.
“Time to revive tourism industry and for cross-border friendships to rekindle – safely,” Commission president Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.
People arriving from Britain, Russia and a number of other countries would meet the new criteria, according to data provided by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the UK, the prime minister said there will be “some opening up” on May 17, but that things must be done in a way “to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back in” to the UK.
Johnson told reporters during a campaign visit to Hartlepool: “We do want to do some opening up on May 17 but I don’t think that the people of this country want to see an influx of disease from anywhere else.
“I certainly don’t and we have got to be very, very tough, and we have got to be as cautious as we can, whilst we continue to open up.”
Asked if people should be planning foreign holidays, he told reporters: “We will be saying more as soon as we can.
“I think that there will be some openings up on the 17th, but we have got to be cautious and we have got to be sensible and we have got to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back in.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Coronavirus has claimed the importation of new variants could “lead to further lockdowns, and inevitably, further loss of life”.
The cross-party group described airport arrival halls as “a breeding ground for infection”.
It recommended that passengers returning from green, amber and red countries under the new risk-based traffic light system do not mix.
Passengers’ documents should be checked before they enter an arrival hall, where possible, so those being transported to quarantine facilities are moved “rapidly”, the group added.
It also called for “adequate financial support” to be provided to travel firms, and for a reversal of the reduction in funding for international research projects assisting the fight against the virus.