If we take French President Emmanuel Macron at face value, it seems clear he views American tourists as more of a liability than a reward. Hence, he’s pushing the idea of keeping European borders shut through September.
European Travel Ban May Be Extended Six More Months
The European travel ban, which prohibits non-essential travel to Schengen nations, is set to expire on April 15, 2020. The European Commission has urged nations to extend the travel restrictions until May 15, 2020.
We invite EU countries to prolong the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU until 15 May.
While we can see encouraging first results, prolonging the travel restriction is necessary to continue reducing the spread of #coronavirus. More → https://t.co/3YTxZlc2Un pic.twitter.com/mhXWPnvyYi
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) April 8, 2020
But speaking to trade unions last Friday, Macron said the virus is at different stages in different parts of the world and the Schengen Area, the border-free area of 26 European nations, must protect itself from high-risk countries. Icleland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, all non-EU states, have also added travel restrictions.
French media reported that Macron specifically singled out the United States, stating that COVID-19 had not reached its peak there. He also mentioned fears of a second wave in Asia and a growing threat from Africa. Macron is now in talks with other EU leaders about this potential extension.
Who Is Exempted From Travel Ban?
It’s worth noting that are exceptions to the travel ban and if it is extended, one fairly large exemption that may lessen the blow.
The following are currently exempted from the travel ban:
- Cross-border workers
- Families of EU citizens
- Long-term residents
- Medical staff
- Transit passengers
The families exception is huge. We checked with the German Embassy and I’d be allowed, traveling with my wife, to visit Germany (not that we have any trips planned).
Such exceptions won’t save the tourist season, but will still enable families to unite and serve as a basis for airlines remaining some service to European capitals.
Border Controls Will Stay
Even if non-citizens are allowed in, you will experience a different Europe than you are used to. France, Sweden, and Denmark have just announced that its border controls will remain in effect until November. The vision of the Schengen Area was visa-free, border-free travel between member states.
Since COVID-19 broke out, many nations have reintroduced border checkpoints. While people are not necessarily blocked from traveling from member state to member state, the re-introduction of national borders marks an alarming trends for the future of the Schengen Area (as originally envisioned).
If you were hoping for a vacation in Europe this summer, you may need to start reconsidering. With France considering long-term travel restrictions, we may see COVID-19 closures linger far longer than initially forecast.
(H/T: Running with Miles)
And non-US citizens are barred from entering the USA so the French are merely catching up.
The article is mixing up two different aspects regarding border control.
The border control in Denmark mentioned relates to avoid illegal immergration. It has nothing to do with the current COVID-19 virus.
I don’t think I mixed it up. I deliberarly sought to clarify that border controls are different than entrance controls.
Seemed pretty clearly articulated to me.
Even if non-citizens are allowed in, you will experience a different Europe than you are used to.
Denmark have had border control for more than two years – so this is not an open border like in other EU countries. So how is this a different Europe?
I’m a dane, living in Copenhagen. You have mixed it up. The latest news (weeks old) is that the danish restrictions last until 13th of May. Haven’t heard anything about november?
Sweden has not closed borders due to Covid-19 (https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/schengen/reintroduction-border-control_en):
Sweden (12 May – 12 November 2020)
Terrorist threats, shortcomings at the external borders; to be determined but may concern all internal borders;
In the case of countries who have currently closed borders due to Covid-19, the controls are temporary. For example Denmark has the same old controls as Sweden and will remove Covid-19 controls when it’s suitable — most likely before 12th November.
The other border closure reasons are old news, e.g. https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidnikel/2019/10/14/denmark-introduces-checks-on-swedish-border-to-combat-terrorism-travel-delays-expected/ (You can also easily google immigration related reasons) One should also note that these tend to be border specific, e.g. Copenhagen airport is still business as usual (outside of Covid-19), the bridge between Denmark and Sweden is not.
I am very happy that Sweden is an outlier, if for nothing else than a chance to test whether social distancing is indeed the answer to fighting COVID-19.
We already know the answer. Social distancing is a good idea but not the complete answer.
Lack of business travel from the U.S. will probably be far more a hit to their economy than lack of tourism will be (though also significant). Further, business travelers will be the first ones to start ramping up Intl. travel, so not allowing us as the early adapters that ability to fly there will be yet another blow to the airlines and hotels that will gradually try to ramp up operations again on the promise of road warriors.
Business travelers will start to move again this summer – but the average traveler for tourism is most likely going to stay close to home anyway. Still, will be a huge impact for everyone.
Could not agree more. Macron is just playing politics and trying to criticize the US.
Wrong. Whether you like it or not, the U.S. is the most negligent country in terms of COVID-19 response. New York City alone has more cases than all countries except the U.S. This isn’t America-bashing — it’s just reality.
I agree, James. And I can fully imagine extending this another 60 days. But to do so until September is hasty and dramatic. Why so long from the get go? Just extend it for 60 days, see how things transpire, and extend it further if you need to.
As poor as Trump has been in reacting, the worst thing other leaders can do is overreact as a compensation. At some point we need pragmatic thinking. Personally I would trust Merkel to lead towards a best decision.
@James: what a terrible comparison. Do you know numbers? Maybe you should compare the number of people that died in both France and the US by the COVID-19 VERSUS the population of the country. That results is called death per capita. You will see that France has almost 15,000 deaths for a population of 66MM. The US has 23,000 deaths for a population of 366MM. Then if you wan to go a bit deeper, compare the number of deaths in the Ille de France (Paris area) and New York City, both the most populated areas of each country. Almost similar numbers as % of deaths vs total population. Last, New York City area has a density of 33,000 people per square mile. That is by far the highest density of any large city in the developed world. It is expected that in a pandemic situation that would happen. Now, you said that New York alone has more cases than all other countries. Great. That is because you trust the numbers coming from China, right? Do you really believe that the official number of deaths in Beijing were 8 and in Shanghai were 6? LOL!!!!!
I honestly think you are taking Manhattan alone when comparing density. Paris would be more so if making a full city comparison. But really, in the end, what difference does it make?
How about that we are the most advanced and wealthiest nation in the world. One that had more warning and more examples to guide us into this crisis. And our leader chose to fumble. Instead of your saying we are no worse than any other country, how about saying we could have done better with all the hints we got beforehand? Trump was given a hand at the table and a shill feeding him info on everyone’s cards and he still blew it.
With that, and to the point of the post, I think banning Americans until mid September is hasty and not pragmatic. It’s an overreaction to a lack of reaction.
The NYC government and NY State government failed to adequately prepare and respond to COVID-19. NYC has unique factors that make it susceptible to viral spread because a mass of people living vertically, the transit system and too many different groups of people who will have differing social distancing compliance.
Aside from NY and NJ, the rest of the country is in good shape. President Trump did great to close travel from China and it worked because genetic analysis says 99.9% of cases in the U.S. are from Europe. NYC was the door to Pandora’s box and most of the spread in the U.S. is from New York. It is amazing how so many people criticized Trump closing travel of non U.S. citizens and Residents from Europe.
Schengen was built with an allowance for border controls to be allowed and used as a response to public health emergencies and significant other security threats of sorts even with regard to borders within the Schengen area.
The Swedish border control for intra-Schengen crossings is less in ways now than it was even at this time last year. Danish border control is way more now than it was at this time in 2019 and 2018.
Travel to and within the Schengen area is going to be a shambles and gamble for some months to come, even more extremely so when it comes to short term visitors from outside of the EU/Schengen zone.
If more countries had coordinated globally and done a better job of taking the virus situation seriously in January and February and worked together like a well-functioning sports team, then the uncertainty and problems would be less and our travels would be more.
Matt, I’m an EU citizen. Do you think I’d be allowed to travel to the EU with my non-EU mom?
As long as this is being discussed, business meetings in Europe will not be planned, and flights will not be booked. I was already expecting a June meeting in France or the flights involved to be cancelled, and this would make it even more likely. Well, I’m just waiting so I can get a refund anyway.
You mentioned that you checked with the German Embassy regarding travel with your wife (I’m assuming she’s a German citizen) and that you would be permitted entry. Would you mind to share a bit more information on that? My husband is German. He actually continues to live in Munich and I live in the US in NY and therefore I do not hold a long term residence permit for Germany. We had contacted the German Consulate in NY and were advised I actually could not enter because of the lack of permit, but I never really believed that could be correct. I’d be interested to hear what you could share. Thank you in advance.
Banning travel from the US for another 2 months or so could make sense given the deteriorating situation in the US.
Having said that, Macron does not decide anything with regards to EU travel restrictions, nor does Frau von der Leyten. Decisions will be made by the respective countries. And I somehow doubt that Macron can afford to keep borders closed when others are open.
I would not read too much in his statements.
I suspect we’ll see a significant PERMANENT reduction in business travel, as many will have worked out that the alternatives, offered via technology, are not too bad, and are getting better. I wouldn’t be surprised by 20 or 30 %.
Similarly leisure travel is going to be down, at least for a couple of years. I’d be very surprised if cruises ever fully recover ( although I never understood the attraction of them…).
Buffets might well be gone forever, at least as we knew them ( ..and that’s not all bad…)
The thing about technology is that it is what makes it easy to attend business meetings around the world and still be as connected as if you were in your own office. That is relatively recent, and a huge development. The impact of wifi on airplanes on productivity alone is striking. Fifteen years ago there was a lot of unproductive downtime when traveling to Europe for business. Now, there is basically none. Travel costs are relatively cheap. Videoconferencing has its limits, particularly in large groups, a notable one being that it does not develop relationships well. So once we get some certainty back, I am not as convinced that in-person human interaction is going to be replaced when this is over, especially across borders and cultures. But I won’t miss the buffets much.
Of course, you have forgotten or ignored they key fact. Regardless of if and how you can travel, you ‘aint going to get travel insurance because all these Firms are going to opt out of anything that might be Coronaviruas related. What his means is that travellers will have no reliable medical insurance for their journeys. Therefore, the Insurers have effectively screwed over all world travel in the future.
So do I understood you correctly, that transit passengers for example traveling to Ukraine can still have trip?