WASHINGTON – France will begin to lift travel restrictions on international travel with non-European Union nations like the United States starting next month, French President Emmanuel Macron told CBS News.
“We will progressively lift restrictions at the beginning of May,” Macron told the CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” The French president added officials in Paris are working to develop a way for “French, European citizens but also American citizens” who are vaccinated to travel more freely by this summer.
Macron said, ideally, travel would be open “for US citizens who are vaccinated, with a special pass,” suggesting a so-called vaccine certificate or passport would be necessary for travel in France.
Macron said he had spoken with the White House about potential plans for lifting some travel restrictions between France and the US, though talks were still in their early stages.
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The announcement is the most notable statement so far by a European leader indicating that travel restrictions may soon ease across Europe. On Friday, Italy announced it would begin to ease some COVID-19 restrictions ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed the country’s parliament for stronger federal powers to increase lockdowns as case numbers rise in what health experts warned the chancellor may become a third wave of the virus.
Europe, US mixed on proof of vaccinations
French and European officials are in the final stages of developing a European vaccine certificate that would allow people to show proof of vaccination and travel the continent, the French president said.
The Biden administration has repeatedly said the federal government will not implement any federal vaccine tracking system that would certify if a person has been vaccinated. Officials have also stressed any private systems to be used in the US should be regulated to protect Americans’ health privacy and civil liberties.
“Let me be very clear on this … The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on April 6.
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“As these tools are being considered by the private and nonprofit sectors, our interest is very simple, from the federal government, which is Americans’ privacy and rights should be protected so that these systems are not used against people unfairly,” Psaki said.
Private sector firms like travel cruise lines have expressed interest in mandating “vaccine passports” before customers can participate in a trip. Other institutions like major retail employers, as well as colleges and universities, have begun to mandate vaccines for Americans to return to work and schooling.