As the COVID pandemic recedes sharply in the West, Europe is opening its doors to Americans — but not the other way around. The United States has not made concessions to the restrictions imposed 15 months ago.
President Joe Biden welcomed the progress made in vaccination. The goal is to get at least one dose of the vaccine before July 4, so that 70% of Americans will be vaccinated. Health authorities have also relaxed the recommendations for masks, but there are restrictions on travel restrictions. The wording remains unchanged.
“We look forward to resuming transatlantic travel as soon as science permits,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday.
“I can’t give a specific timetable, just because it depends to a large extent on the epidemiological process, the response and development of the virus around the world, including the impact and existence of mutations,” he said.
Biden vowed to restore the alliance after President Donald Trump’s turbulent presidency, and last week he wooed European allies during his first overseas visit. But he has made it clear that he is not in a hurry to travel, and his government once again extended the closure of the land borders with Canada and Mexico until July 21.
During the pandemic, the United States also banned most tourists from the European Union and the United Kingdom, as well as Brazil, China, India, Iran, and South Africa.
However, the Biden government allows more and more exemptions, and despite restrictions on ordinary tourists, journalists, students and others can still travel.
In contrast, the European Union has decided to reopen its borders to Americans on the condition that they are vaccinated or provide test results showing that they are negative.
“I hope we can find a similar solution for travel from Germany and the European Union to the United States in the spirit of mutual benefit!” German Ambassador to the United States Emily Haber (Emily Haber) tweeted.
But the European Union did not open up after negotiating reciprocity with the United States, but was pressured by the tourism-dependent member states such as Greece, Italy and Spain, which are eager to revive industries destroyed by the pandemic.
In the United States, even though airlines and others in the tourism industry support the relaxation of regulations, and the Wall Street Journal stated in a recent editorial that there is no reason not to allow foreign tourists to enter, the United States does not have similar forces clamoring for foreign tourists to enter. . Respond to European decision.
In early June, the Biden administration announced the establishment of a working group with the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico to proceed with the next step.
In between are thousands of foreigners who usually pay U.S. taxes and may have family members in the U.S., but they have to worry about whether they can return.
Some people’s visas expire during the pandemic, which means they may have to wait a long time if they travel overseas and wish to renew their visas at an overloaded US consulate.
Celia Belin, a French scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, pointed out that Biden was elected because he promised to solve the COVID problem better than Trump, and that he “hoped that when faced with concerns about the Delta variant. Take zero risk”.
She pointed out that Europeans have a clear epidemiological threshold on when to open to American travelers, but there is no similar transparency in the United States.
She said that Biden “puts health issues first, regardless of social and human consequences.”