28th Sep 2021

EU keeps door open for US tourists

  • EU tourist hotspots recorded a surge in infections over summer (Photo: ecdc.eu)

Non-essential travel from the US to the EU can continue for now despite a surge in US coronavirus cases and lack of reciprocity, according to the latest European recommendation.

EU countries made the decision in Brussels on Monday (10 August), three EU officials speaking to the Bloomberg and Reuters news agencies said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

They left the US on an EU 'white list' of some 24 places from which "travel restrictions should be lifted", but which is not binding on member states' national administrations.

The white list also includes Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Western Balkan countries, and Ukraine, but not Russia or the UK.

The positive US recommendation comes as the European summer tourist season enters its full swing.

But it also comes amid a surge in US infections, which recently passed the figure of 270 per 100,000 people, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), an EU agency in Sweden, whose normal benchmark for an acceptable level of infections is 75 per 100,000.

And the EU policy comes even though the US is continuing to ban European tourists due to fears of spreading the Delta-variant of Covid-19, alongside its ban on travellers from Brazil, India, Iran, and South Africa.

"We insist comparable rules be applied to arrivals in both directions," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had said last week.

"We keep reminding, asking, and encouraging our US friends to follow suit," a spokesperson for Slovenia's EU presidency also said at the time.

Meanwhile, inside Europe, an increasing number of tourist or public venues are requiring visitors to prove that they have been vaccinated before giving access.

Thirteen EU countries, including France, Germany, and Italy, as well as the Vatican, have started or plan to start asking people to show 'green pass' vaccine certificates in various kinds of venues.

The Italian regime, which entered into force last Friday, is among the most severe, with even lesser-known tourist attractions, such as the catacombs of Naples, now off-limits to unvaccinated visitors.

Italy is mostly an 'amber' country in terms of the latest ECDC infections-data, but Sicily and a handful of regions are classified as 'red' (over 200 infections per 100,000).

Popular tourist destinations Cyprus, France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain are mostly red, together with Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, and the Netherlands, but infections remain low in Germany, central and eastern Europe, and in Croatia.


The dilemma of Europe's returning female jihadis

This month, three Swedish women landed in Stockholm, expelled from Syria together with their children. Two of the women were arrested, one suspected of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Their children were immediately taken into custody.

Yemen's refugees in 'appalling conditions', says UN agency

Yemen hosts around 130,000 refugees and 12,000 asylum seekers. In a country wrecked by six years of war, many find themselves in dire conditions and unable to leave, says Jean-Nicolas Beuze, the UN refugee agency's representative in Yemen.


Textbook hypocrisy: EU's new low point on Palestine

Brussels institutions are devoting time not to Israel's illegal settlements and the two-state solution, but to an entirely different, peripheral issue: an EU-funded study of Palestinian Authority schoolbooks, published in June by the Georg-Eckert Institute in Germany.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. Scaling up tidal requires flood of new cash
  2. German coalition calculus dominates This WEEK
  3. No clear winner to succeed Merkel in Germany
  4. Banks fuelling expansion of oil-and-gas Arctic extraction
  5. The dilemma of Europe's returning female jihadis
  6. Why Draghi could be a two-term prime-minister
  7. Activists: 'More deaths' expected on Polish-Belarus border
  8. EU unveils common charger plan - forcing Apple redesign

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us