Let me start by saying that I am thankful that the European Union took the first step in opening up borders to American tourists this summer. But the lack of reciprocity in allowing Europeans to travel to the United States is indefensible and absurd at this point. My answer would be to close European borders to Americans until reciprocity is established. Enough is enough.
Reciprocity Is Respect: It’s Time To Lock Americans Out Of Europe
Oh, I don’t actually want European borders closed to American travelers. I also think that with minimal risk, American travelers have breathed life into many depressed economies in areas that are highly reliant upon tourism. I’ve seen it first-hand over the last five weeks in Europe.
But perhaps blocking Americans is the only way that Europe can push the White House to loosen the unscientific, illogical travel ban that allows travelers from high-risk nations to visit the USA while blocking citizens from Great Britain and the European Union.
The White House is now hinting that it will lift the travel ban by requiring all foreign visitors to be vaccinated. Fine. But Reuters reports this will require a “new system” before travel can resume and will involve a “phased approach” to travel. Further, a White House official noted “the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point” because infections “appear likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.”
That open-ended restriction is unacceptable. The delta variant is now the dominant variant in the USA. It’s already present! The EU, as a bloc, has now outpaced the United States in terms of vaccinations.
Whatever your view on whether foreigner visitors should be allowed in the United States, the current approach is totally broken. Beyond separating loved ones, preventing workers from returning to the USA, and harming international business, the odd restrictions punish nations like Germany, France, and the UK that have made significant progress in the battle against COVID-19 while rewarding countries outside of Western Europe where the virus represents a much more serious threat.
As a general principle, most border closures and reciprocity measures, like ex-Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s absurd visa regime to punish Americans for making it so hard for Brazilians to travel to the USA, are counterproductive. Indeed, they represent cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.
Even so, Europe cannot allow this disrespect to continue. I’m absolutely disgusted by it.
Airline lobbyists work such wonders when it comes to insulating airlines from consumer-friendly measures yet airlines and other travel industries have failed to convince regulators to curb these restrictions. With pressure from the private sector ineffective, it is time for Europe to say to America, “Put up…or stay home.”