EU Borders Remain Closed to Americans and Others – That’s Why
Americans are set to be banned from Europe – again – as the EU revises its list of countries invited to travel to the continent.
The list was first announced at the end of June, as the EU prepared to lift travel bans on 14 overseas countries from July 1. Since then, travelers from these countries have been welcomed in many Schengen countries.
Border restrictions are reviewed every 14 days and officials have been meeting in Brussels since yesterday to discuss them. The official news is expected anytime now.
No new countries are added to the list, reports Bloomberg. Indeed, two – Serbia and Montenegro – were dropped. The EU recommends that the external borders remain closed to Americans “and most other foreigners” for at least another fortnight, it reports. This amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus.
“Member government envoys in Brussels called on Tuesday not to expand a list of 15 countries – including Canada, Japan, South Korea and China – whose residents were given the green light two weeks ago to travel to the EU, the officials said on condition of anonymity.
“Diplomats also recommended shortening the list to 13 states by deleting Serbia and Montenegro following new infections there.”
This means that the list of host countries is now as follows: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
US and others still banned – Serbia and Montenegro on red list
EU officials have confirmed to several major media outlets now that Europe’s borders will remain closed to US visitors as planned. The United States was not even on the table for talks according to Reuters, “given its sharp rise in coronavirus cases”.
This is the advice the EU will give to its members, who have the final say on their borders. Some like Croatia have already taken their own direction on the ban. It welcomes US and other travelers who are not on the EU safe list.
Similarly, others still refuse to open their borders to third-country nationals, despite the EU’s recommendation. “Hungary and several neighboring countries have refused to reopen the borders for the 14 non-Schengen countries”, The world reports.
Fears of a second wave in Europe lead the EU to a tougher stance on the border
List of non-EU countries whose citizens could visit the EU ‘is already under threat’ reported The world yesterday. “The situation of the pandemic in some countries on the initial list (Australia, Algeria, Morocco, Serbia, etc.) will necessarily lead to a revision of this list.”
As this happens, it seems that only two countries are deemed dangerous enough to be deported. These are Serbia and Montenegro due to their spike in Covid-19 infections. Serbia is one of the only other European countries whose borders are currently open to US travellers. EU diplomats have approved a proposal by Germany to exclude the non-EU Balkan pair “due to the spread of infections”, officials told Reuters.
However, as some EU countries see a new spike in infections, the decision not to allow other, even safe, Covid countries is equally important.
“The general mood in the room is one of maximum caution, as there are concerns about the evolution” of the pandemic,” an EU diplomat said. Politics while the meeting was in progress.
The updated list is expected to be released “in the coming hours or days”, Reuters reports. My request to the European Commission for clarification on the list has not yet been answered.
France could block Algeria, while the EU refuses to do so
EU countries have also discussed removing Algeria and Morocco from the safe list due to a rise in Covid-19 cases according to Reuters. The majority of members opposed such a move. But France, which has advocated most strongly for Algeria’s removal from the list, plans to adopt national measures to block Algerian arrivals.
According to WHO data, both countries appear to be within the EU threshold in terms of Covid cases to be included in the list. For its first list, the EU used a benchmark of 16 cases per 100,000 citizens to let foreign travelers in.
Europe witnessing the resurgence of Covid-19
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, that EU average jumped 8% in the fortnight to June 30. Both in the EU and in the Schengen countries and the United Kingdom. After falling to 15.3, it has risen to 16.4 cases per 100,000.
In the United States, by contrast, the average rate of cases per 100,000 people is 1,042, ranging from 81 in Hawaii to 2,636 in New York.