Global borders are starting to reopen, as most of the world is beginning to ease pandemic restrictions. But for the European Union, there are being selective as to who they let in. On the block list? The United States.
Starting on July 1st, the EU began opening its borders to nonessential travelers. But upon recommendation from the European Commission, there are high standards for just who they let in. The primary qualification is that the traveler comes from a country “considered as being in a comparable or better epidemiological situation as the average in the EU+ area.” The United States, of course, leads the world with the highest number of both coronavirus infections and coronavirus deaths. And the numbers are worsening, not getting better.
There are a few exceptions. European citizens or residents who are flying from the United States will be allowed back home. And there are various kinds of travel that are considered essential that will be exempt from the block, including travel by diplomats, students, and humanitarian workers.
And while the EU used to include the UK, Brexit means that these rules don’t apply when traveling to England or Ireland. But if you think this might be a loophole, you’re mistaken. Traveling to the EU by way of the UK won’t be an option unless you can prove you have a residence or family in the country you’re trying to enter.
The EU will review its list of banned countries every two weeks and will make adjustments accordingly. For the US, the ban is likely indefinite as the trends continue pointing in the wrong direction.
What does this mean for transatlantic relationships? Both the tourism industry and the international labor markets likely to see some longterm hits. And for the many Americans and Europeans with loved ones on either side of the pond, the future may look bleak. Pauline Manos, an American living in Belgium for decades told Euronews, “Suddenly I feel this is my grandparents’ generation when they emigrated from Greece to the US and never saw their parents again… and letters would take three months.”