As the European Union finalized plans last week for its reopening following months of coronavirus-related lockdowns, the United States found itself left off the bloc’s shortlist of nations from which travelers will be welcome to visit.
Unnamed officials from the intergovernmental organization confirmed to The New York Times on Friday that most of its 27 member states had reached an agreement regarding reopening procedures which could boost the continental economy, reinvigorating interstate trade and salvaging summer tourism.
Diplomatic envoys are now attempting to complete the bureaucratic finalization process, as the set of common reopening standards must be formalized in their respective capitals, and emerge from the virus-related lockdowns on July 1.
Debate regarding the plan was reportedly strenuous, with several EU members wary about reopening as confirmed coronavirus cases continued to spike in certain regions.
Recent surges in viral transmission across Brazil, India, Russia and the United States — which reported a record 45,300 individuals infected on Friday alone, according to Johns Hopkins data — left all four nations in the crosshairs of European concern.
The Times reported the list of countries whose residents will likely be permitted to travel to the EU includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican.
China, where the coronavirus is widely believed to have originated, is also reportedly eligible to be on the list, despite widespread reports that officials in the nation mismanaged the initial outbreak and withheld key public health information from the international community earlier this year.
The nation would become eligible so long as its government was willing to reciprocate, opening its own borders to European travelers, according to The Times.
American exclusion did not bring about any ill will toward the EU within the Trump administration, however, a State Department spokesperson told The Western Journal.
“We appreciate the transparency and concerted efforts of our European partners and allies to combat this pandemic, and we are committed to coordinating with them as we look forward to reopening our economies and easing restrictions,” the spokesperson said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced similar optimism while speaking to reporters Wednesday, as rumors were beginning to circulate that the U.S. may not make the cut.
“We’ve been working with countries all across the world, including our friends in Europe and the EU proper, to determine how it is we can best safely reopen international travel,” Pompeo said. “We have to make sure that we have all of the elements in place to reopen travel between the EU and the United States.”
“I’m very confident that in the coming weeks we’ll figure that out as between not only the United States and the EU, but the United States and other parts of the world too,” he added.
According to the AP, travel regulations and clearances within the EU are not expected to change prior to continental lockdowns lifting on July 1.
They are, however, subject to change on a biweekly basis going forward, with different nations around the world being added to — or potentially dropped from — the travel clearance list based upon their handling of the virus.
The Western Journal has reached out to the White House for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
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