The European Union’s top diplomat in Washington stated that the United States should safely relax COVID-19 travel restrictions on Europeans, saying it was wrong to prevent European corporate executives from monitoring their investments in the United States.
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.
Stavros Lambrinidis stated in a virtual trade event on Wednesday (June 23) that Brussels is working around the clock to resolve the issue and he hopes to reach an agreement “soon”.
He said that the European Union allows Americans who work in Europe and hold a valid work visa to enter the European Union in order to continue trade and investment, but has imposed stricter restrictions on European citizens.
This means that Europeans living in the United States can visit their families in Europe, but even if they are vaccinated or quarantined, they are not allowed to return. “This must end,” he said at an event at the Washington International Trade Association.
“We must be able to start our economy together again,” he said, noting that 60% of foreign investment in the United States comes from Europe. “The executives of these companies want to be able to go to the United States to oversee these investments, and today they cannot. This is a mistake.”
Lambrinidis said he was encouraged by the progress made at the US-Europe summit last week, and that in the long-term dispute over the payment of aircraft subsidies to Airbus and Boeing, the two sides reached an agreement to suspend tariffs for five years.
He said that the dispute over the U.S. tariffs on American steel and aluminum imposed by the U.S. on the grounds of “national security concerns” is more complicated, but he optimistically believes that the two sides can reinforce the now suspended EU countermeasures in December Solve the problem before starting.
“We now have about five and a half months; there is enough time to solve this problem,” he said, “and solving it means…to deal with China’s overcapacity problem together as an ally.”