Trending under the hashtags #LoveIsEssential and #LoveIsNotTourism, Europe is considering rolling back travel restrictions for partners and lovers who may not be in a legally-recognizable relationship but wish to reunite. Does an EU exemption for lovers make sense?
EU Considers Lovers Exemption
Ylva Johansson, the European Union’s Commissioner for Home Affairs, has asked EU nations to apply a “wide definition” of partnership in order to allow temporarily-separated couples to re-unite.
I want to directly address and support the very committed and vocal #LoveIsEssential campaign.
I urge Member State authorities and indeed travel companies to apply as wide a definition of partnerships as possible.#LoveIsNotTourism
— Ylva Johansson (@YlvaJohansson) July 2, 2020
“The partner or ‘sweetheart’ with whom the Union citizen or legal resident has a durable relationship which is duly attested should be exempted from EU travel restrictions on non-essential travel.”
Across the EU, “legal” immediate family members have already been exempt from entrance bans, even if they come from high-risk regions. Denmark has already heeded Johansson’s call and now allows foreign partners, parents and children to enter under sworn statement…no further proof required. Some are already celebrating:
On Sunday I’ll see my partner again after 6 months separation. This is only possible because the Danish government a week ago opened up for non-EU partners. The recipe is simple: negative test at arrival or test+quarantine till negative result #DoLikeTheDanes #liftthetravelban https://t.co/4Ql7MidP7m
— Naya (@Naya1960) July 4, 2020
But momentum for such a move appears to be building. An Austrian member of European Parliament tweeted, “Because lovers should be able to see each other, despite [COVID-19] entry restrictions.”
Passend zum #TagDesKusses sage ich #LoveIsEssential. Denn: Liebenden sollte es möglich sein sich zu sehen, trotz Corona-Einreisebeschränkungen, Weil: #LoveIsNotTourism @eviholz und ich haben die Petition unterstützt: https://t.co/MD8uHn99Dk pic.twitter.com/41o60hIbZx
— Andreas Schieder (@SCHIEDER) July 6, 2020
A German one too, who sent out an individual tweet to every EU nation encouraging informal partners to be allowed in:
Corona must not limit love. Calling on the government of the #Netherlands to follow the EU-Commission’s recommendation to give love- and lifepartners equal rights as family members when traveling to the EU: #LoveIsNotTourism #loveisessential pic.twitter.com/7yXyjbIadN
— Moritz Körner (@moritzkoerner) July 3, 2020
Want to travel to Europe soon and find yourself banned? Your ticket may be a relationship with a European citizen.
It should be noted that while Europe mulls whether to relax the definition of family, many Europeans who have legally married their American partners are not allowed in the USA…
Alyssa 🇺🇸 and me 🇪🇸 have been separated for 5 months. I came back to Spain just to get the marriage visa, which was granted to me. However, even in possession of a K-1 fiancé visa with the travel ban my trip to the USA is considered non-essential. #LoveIsNotTourism pic.twitter.com/6iXsuQ64ad
— jordi 💍 alyssa (@AlyssaJordi) July 2, 2020
That’s the truly sad news here.
Do you think Europe should be open to couples and their families who claim to be together and have not formally tied the knot?