In the latest COVID-19 move the EU (European Union) has banned American passengers from visiting countries in Europe. At the same time, the EU is allowing Chinese passengers to be on the visitor-list if they reciprocate in letting EU citizens visiting China.
European officials have stated that Americans are too risky to have for non-essential travel. They also gave a “whitelist” of non-risk countries from which the EU would accept the entry of travelers in this phase 1 reopening.
Who is allowed entry into the EU?
Citizens of European countries
The European Council released an official statement regarding entry to the EU along with the non-EU countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The new entry requirements began on July 1st, allowing citizens of the countries listed below to enter the European Union:
For this statement, the people of the landlocked countries of Andorra, San Marino, and the Vatican with the coastal state of Monaco are considered EU residents.
Citizens of non-EU countries allowed into Europe
- New Zealand,
- South Korea,
*China would be on the list if the Chinese reciprocate by allowing EU citizens to travel to China.
The United States poses a health security risk to the European Union’s efforts
For a country to become “whitelisted” the following has to happen, according to the official EU statement:
- COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks (14 days) per 100,000 inhabitants must be close to or below the EU average (as of June 15, 2020). For the 27 EU-members and the UK, the standard is between 20 and 100 new cases. This is a number the United States is nowhere near. The United States has more than 350 average cases per 100,000 people.
- There must be a stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days. A decreasing trend is defined as less than 20 cases, according to the ECDC risk assessment.
- Also, other elements are taken into account, such as the response to the COVID-19, available information, testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment, and reporting. To get the United States into consideration, the country needs to meet more EU-requirements. The U.S. has available data, containment, contact tracing, and containment measures in place. But, other factors are at play here, which will require more time before Americans can visit Europe again.
How frequent are the EU revisions and are there any exceptions?
EU revision schedule
The European Council has said the list be revised every two weeks.
With that in mind, the end of the EU ban on Americans visiting should become reality at some point.
There are exceptions for EU citizens and residents abroad. These are people who are not from the clean list of countries cleared for non-essential travel. Although stricter than other similar drafted documents, the exceptions for entry into Europe include:
- EU citizens and their family members,
- Long-Term EU residents and their family members, and
- People traveling on essential functions or need.
China’s Reciprocity? A Political Aspect
China hasn’t told which way they are going on whether to allow EU citizens into their country or not. The EU posture is to let China know they aren’t in favor of following the direction of the UK and the US.
I’m talking about the United States terminating Hong Kong’s Special Relationship on autonomy from China.
Also, the United Kingdom, under Boris Johnson, is placing a pathway to citizenship to up to 3 million people eligible for a British National Overseas passport in Hong Kong.
While they “deplore” the decision, the EU’s European Parliament is pleading with the EU Commission to take China to the Hague (the European Union’s law enforcement agency).
Sources behind closed doors do say it is an opportunity for the EU to stand with the UK and the US.
However, the bloc is hesitant since the ban on American visitors, the only country capable of supplanting tourism dollars is China.
The EU is trying to read China’s resolve.
The EU on international relations has been in the middle of the US and Russia/China since World War 2.
However, the EU would likely stand with the US if they can’t replace tourism dollars.
My sense is that the Chinese will out-maneuver the UK and the US by driving a wedge right at the English Channel and allow EU citizens into China on the base of reciprocity.
Also a matter of infuence
In the influence and relations front, it becomes embarrassing. Our dollars are being been supplanted (replaced) by the Renminbi (Chinese Yuan) in Europe.
Our dollars, as a tool of influential means, are still there, but our counter influence is not!
Reciprocity by the Chinese means lost commerce for the U.S., and future U.S. relations becoming in peril.
This is a zero-sum game that China wins and the United States loses. Travel and tourism are effective diplomatic tools allowing a contribution of experiences by people on both sides.
It also means that Europe loses as China doesn’t share European values.
Do you agree with how the EU bans Americans from visiting Europe? What do you think about the EU’s approach to dealing with mutual visits from communist China? Please let the journalist Alex Martinez Rivera know your thoughts here.
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