European Union Takes US Off COVID-19 Safe Travel List, Backs Travel Restrictions

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
August 30, 2021 Updated: August 30, 2021

The EU has recommended that 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the United States due to COVID-19 cases.

On Aug. 30, the EU removed the United States, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia from the bloc’s safe travel list. Member nations of the EU are free to determine their own border policies, despite the bloc’s recommendation.

Some EU countries, including Germany and Belgium, consider the United States to be in the red, mandating quarantines and tests for U.S. travelers. France and the Netherlands classify the United States as safe, however.

“Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restriction. This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travelers,” the EU said in a statement.

But the EU Council’s “recommendation is not a legally binding instrument,” according to the statement.

“The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation,” the statement reads. “They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions toward countries listed.”

The United States doesn’t allow European citizens to visit the country freely, despite appeals from the EU. The United States also extended a moratorium on cross-border travel with Canada, as well as Mexico, despite Canada having rescinded travel restrictions for Americans and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated.

Average daily U.S. COVID-19 cases have risen to more than 450 per million people in the week that ended on Aug 28, compared with below 40 in mid-June, when the EU added the United States to its list, figures from Our World in Data show. Case rates for Israel—which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world—Kosovo, and Montenegro are even higher, the data suggest.

The EU safe list is made up of 17 countries, including Canada, Japan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, South Korea, and New Zealand.

Non-EU citizens who are fully vaccinated can be allowed into the EU, although tests and quarantine periods may apply.

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Senior Reporter
Jack Phillips is a reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.