Whinging EU in ‘huge disappointment’ after Biden keeps European travellers on US ban list

Whinging EU in ‘huge disappointment’ after Biden keeps European travellers on US ban list

European Union officials have been left “hugely disappointed” by the White House’s decision to maintain the blockade on EU travellers indefinitely. The Biden administration announced on Monday its ban would remain in place over fears about the Delta variant. Eurocrats were left surprised by the decision, especially after boasting that the bloc’s vaccination rate has now surpassed those in the US.

Washington’s refusal to lift the ban has been a source of frustration in the Belgian capital for a number of weeks.

Last month, the EU added the US to its safe list for non-essential travel.

It allowed even unvaccinated travellers to make the transatlantic hop.

Days after the announcement, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas attended an EU-US ministerial meeting.

In a joint statement, he said: “Both sides committed to reinitiate secure travel between the United States and EU member states as soon as possible, based on the principles of mutual cooperation, efficient operation of the international travel system and scientific evidence.”

One EU official told the Politico website the US decision not to lift the ban was a “huge disappointment especially after Alex Mayorkas gave us hope”.

The EU is now pondering potential retaliation in the hope of forcing Washington’s hand to lift its travel ban.

One official suggested EU commissioners could cancel plans to visit the US in September for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.

Another insider said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had harmed the bloc’s ability to demand reciprocity from the US by rushing to end the restrictions on American travels.

A Commission spokesman said: “As you know, we have received reassurances that this is a high priority issue for the US administration.

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US authorities are urging against visits to a number of EU countries, including Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

The fury comes as the EU continues to leave Britain off its list of safe destinations.

While fully vaccinated European travellers will be able to land in England without quarantining from Monday, sources have indicated the EU will not make a similar decision until September.

Published at Thu, 29 Jul 2021 16:20:00 +0000