EU Resists Further Travel Opening With New Virus Wave a Risk

The European Union recommended keeping its external borders shut to Americans and most other foreigners for at least two more weeks as fears grow of a second coronavirus wave, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Member-government envoys in Brussels on Tuesday urged no expansion of a list of 15 countries -- Canada, Japan, South Korea and China among them -- whose residents were given the green light two weeks ago to visit the EU, the officials said on the condition of anonymity.

The diplomats also recommended shortening the list to 13 states by removing Serbia and Montenegro as a result of new infections there, the people said.

The plan marks the first biweekly review of a July 1 EU move to loosen a pandemic-induced curb on non-essential travel to the bloc.

A resurgence in virus cases around the world is hampering European efforts to emerge from national lockdowns and revive domestic economies as the summer tourist season gets underway.

The ban on non-essential travel to the EU has so far largely showcased voluntary coordination among member countries under the aegis of the European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm, which formally has no decision-making power over the matter. Health policy in Europe is primarily a national responsibility.

Still, some EU capitals are going their own way. European airline and airport groups last week criticized the failure of member countries to uniformly follow the recommendation regarding the July 1 loosening, citing “a patchwork system of travel restrictions and border controls throughout Europe.”

On Tuesday, Dublin-based discount airline Ryanair Holdings Plc said it would pare back its reopening in Ireland because of travel restrictions that aren’t aligned with the EU guidance.

The carrier said it would cut as many as 1,000 planned flights between Ireland and the U.K. in August and September. The Irish decision to quarantine travelers from other EU countries, as well as from the U.K., while opening the border with Northern Ireland “makes no sense,” Ryanair said in a statement.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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