EUROPE has delayed a decision on whether to let Brits back in until next month over Indian variant fears in a blow to holiday hopes.
Brussels was due to sign off on a new borders plan today that would've thrown the continent open to tourists from the UK.
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But diplomatic sources said it has now been shelved for at least 10 days Member States watch the spread of the new strain.
Spain is set to become the second European country, after Portugal, to defy the EU's global travel ban and will let Brits in from Monday.
A Brussels source said: "Member states need a bit more time to look into developments regarding the Indian variant.
“They want to prevent putting countries on and off the list too much."
The bloc has had an embargo on all non-essential arrivals in place since March last year.
Only half a dozen countries with very low Covid rates, like Australia and New Zealand, are currently on the exempt "white list".
Now capitals have signed up to less strict rules to allow more overseas visitors and kickstart the summer tourism season.
The new blueprint, rubber stamped on Wednesday, says travel can resume from places with fewer than 75 cases per 100,000 people.
Ambassadors were due to make a final decision on which nations would qualify under the new criteria today.
But a senior EU diplomat said: "I think we need 10 days to work this through."
Britain's rate currently stands at 22 per 100,000, meaning we should easily make the cut.
But there is also an "emergency brake" clause which allows EU countries to slam their borders shut again to keep out variants.
A top eurocrat today said Brussels wants to start talks with the UK over recognising each other's vaccine passports for travel as soon as possible.
EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said: "We always try and work, looking for reciprocity.
“With the UK we’re taking the same approach but also have to think about reopening of external borders, the white list.
"The objective is to accept vaccinated persons from outside the EU. Perhaps we will have to come to an adequacy decision based on mutual recognition.
"We are still having discussions on how to recognise equivalency of the certificates.”
It comes after a top minister said Boris Johnson wants to add "as many countries as possible" to the UK's green list within weeks.
Justice secretary Robert Buckland said the Government wants to make it as easy as possible for Brits to jet off for a break in the sun.
Asked about the green list, he said: "Clearly we're very keen to see as many countries as possible on that list.
"Because that means more opportunities for holidaymakers and the sort of ease of transport that clearly makes a holiday a much more pleasant experience.
"We'll continue where we see the evidence to add countries or indeed sometimes to take them off if we see the evidence going the other way."
His remarks raise the prospect of more countries being added to the green list within weeks, with the next review due on June 7.
And even more destinations are also expected to be approved in a wider review of how the traffic light travel system is working on June 28.
Yesterday the transport secretary Grant Shapps said he's pushing for more holiday hotspots to be opened up as soon as possible.
He wants extra destinations to be made quarantine-free as their vaccination rates catch up with the UK.
There are calls for many favourite European haunts including Spain, France, and Italy to be opened up soon.
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