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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: Valeria Mongelli/Hans Lucas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Council of the European Union voted on Monday to recommend reinstating a ban on non-essential travel from the United States due to its high rate of COVID-19 infections.

Why it matters: The decision, which is non-binding and will ultimately be up to individual member states to implement, comes after weeks of EU officials criticizing the Biden administration for not lifting U.S. restrictions on travel from Europe.

The big picture: Official EU recommendations suggest that for a country to fall under a “safe list,” it needs to have recorded no more than 75 new cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week period. The U.S. rates have far exceeded this number in August.

  • The recommendation to halt non-essential U.S. travel came from Slovenia, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency and is in charge of proposing assessments on travel from non-EU countries.
  • The EU had banned non-essential travel from the U.S. last year due to the pandemic, but as American vaccinations increased, the EU put the U.S. on the "safe list" in mid-June.
  • The United States has not fully reciprocated and most restrictions remain in place for European visitors.

What they're saying: "This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travellers. As stipulated in the Council recommendation, this list will continue to be reviewed regularly and, as the case may be, updated," the Council said in a statement.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Sep 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to herald "travel revolution"

Expand chart
Data: TSA. Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky will argue this week that the world is undergoing a "travel revolution," in which some parts of the industry stay shrunk but the sector ultimately comes back "bigger than ever."

Why it matters: Chesky, who faced the abyss when the world shut down last year, foresees a significant shift in how people move around, with more intentional gatherings of family, friends and colleagues — even if routine business travel is never what it once was.

Biden's communication headaches

President Biden stands with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in June. Photo: Patrick Semansky/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Boris Johnson told reporters on his way to the U.N. General Assembly on Sunday night he didn't believe it was likely that the U.S. would agree to lift its ban on vaccinated foreign travelers this week. Hours later, the White House did exactly that.

Why it matters: For the second time in less than a week, a major U.S. foreign policy decision by the Biden administration appears to have caught one of its closest allies by surprise. And neither was the first time, either.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over Biden deportations

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

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