Travel ban between Europe and the United States finally ends


“We need to resolve this problem as quickly as possible,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in unusually blunt remarks in August. “It can’t go on for weeks. “

It went on for months.

Countless Europeans have missed important family gatherings like reunions, births, weddings and funerals. Thousands of people have taken to social media to pressure governments to end the travel ban, using the hashtag #LoveIsNotTourism.

Eirini Linardaki, a Franco-Greek visual artist who was planning to fly to New York on Monday to reunite with her partner, said she felt an injustice over the summer when she saw planes from the United States land in Paris . “The idea that we could not visit our loved one in the country where he is, we Europeans did not know him,” she said of the pre-pandemic trips.

Ms. Linardaki, 45, still takes nothing for granted: “I keep asking myself, is this real?

Even with the borders reopening, some Europeans are still trying to figure out what they went through, said Edward Alden, senior researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations, specializing in immigration and trade. “It separated a lot of couples and families, and lasted a lot longer than most people thought,” he said, “so there was tremendous frustration.”

In recent months, Mr Alden said, some European leaders have become frustrated with the Biden administration over issues such as the random withdrawal from Afghanistan. Then came a diplomatic crisis with France, which reacted with fury after Australia rolled back its submarine deal in favor of a deal with the United States and Britain.

The lifting of the travel ban was a step towards the larger goal of easing tensions. “It was a bone that Biden could throw at Europeans,” Mr. Alden said. Another, he said, was the recently announced deal to lower tariffs on steel and aluminum that had been imposed under the Trump administration.

As travelers prepared to fly to the United States this week, many expressed mixed emotions.

“More stressed than excited,” said Line Baumann, a 23-year-old Danish woman who was due to fly to Denver on Monday to meet her boyfriend. “We have been disappointed so many times. “

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