Politics

‘Huge disappointment’ in EU over Biden’s continuing travel ban – POLITICO

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The Biden administration’s choice this week to keep up its ban on European vacationers indefinitely has left EU officers irritated and questioning if they need to have compelled the U.S. to fulfill the identical “reciprocity” requirement imposed on China.

The announcement on Monday by White Home press secretary Jen Psaki that the ban would stay in place, citing considerations concerning the Delta variant, stunned European officers, in half as a result of vaccination charges in the EU, which received off to a slower begin, have now surpassed these in the U.S.

However Brussels has avoided elevating a fuss, EU officers and diplomats mentioned, seeing little benefit in creating pressure with the People as Europe confronts an unpredictable new wave of coronavirus infections.

As EU international locations reap the financial advantages of People visiting for summer season holidays, officers in Brussels mentioned they had been targeted as an alternative on whether or not the fast-spreading Delta variant would pressure them to reimpose their very own restrictions — a step that to this point has been judged pointless.

Regardless of the dearth of public outrage, officers mentioned they had been miffed on the failure of the White Home to stay as much as assurances that it will carry its travel ban.

In mid-June, the EU added the U.S. to its “inexperienced listing,” allowing arrivals of even unvaccinated vacationers. Later that month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on a go to to Paris, mentioned the administration hoped to carry the ban as quickly as potential however declined to specify a date.

Just a few days later, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Safety Alejandro Mayorkas attended an EU-U.S. ministerial assembly in Lisbon, the place officers issued a joint assertion saying: “Either side dedicated to reinitiate safe travel between the US and EU Member States as quickly as potential, based mostly on the ideas of mutual cooperation, environment friendly operation of the worldwide travel system and scientific proof.”

One senior EU official referred to as the U.S. refusal to carry its ban a “enormous disappointment particularly after Alex Mayorkas gave us hope.”  

One potential consequence, the official mentioned, is that few EU commissioners would observe via on plans to go to the U.S. in September, a conventional month for high-level diplomatic conferences across the opening of the United Nations Normal Meeting.

One other senior official mentioned that European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen had undercut the EU’s skill to demand reciprocity from the US by speeding to announce the easing of restrictions on U.S. guests even earlier than the EU’s personal member international locations formally authorized such a transfer.

At a information convention on Tuesday, a Fee spokesman, Adalbert Jahnz, mentioned that talks had been continuing with Washington.

“As you realize, we’ve acquired reassurances that it is a excessive precedence concern for the U.S. administration,” Jahnz mentioned. “We’re participating in good religion with the U.S.” He added: “Our evaluation stays that there’s a sturdy case for the U.S. to reopen to vacationers from Europe.”

EU officers, nevertheless, concede that there was no heads up from Washington earlier than Psaki’s feedback on Monday. They mentioned they had been additionally stunned by new travel warnings by U.S. authorities urging towards visits to a number of European international locations, together with Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

And whereas relations between Brussels and Washington have improved markedly since President Joe Biden took workplace in January, changing Donald Trump, officers mentioned the travel concern uncovered some limits in the willingness of the U.S. to behave in full collaboration. Nonetheless, they mentioned that the Fee was targeted totally on upping vaccination charges in Europe, leaving little incentive to boost a diplomatic row by publicly criticizing bans or closures by international locations outdoors the EU’s frequent travel space.  

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