European Union Removes America from “Safe” Countries List

After recommending their member states reopen leisure travel to Europe for Americans in June, the EU has reversed course due to rising COVID-19 cases in the United States. On Monday, diplomats from the European Council voted to remove the United States from their list of “safe” countries along with Israel, Montenegro, Kosovo, Lebanon and North Macedonia, but that doesn’t necessarily mean Europe is closed to Americans.

Each country in the European Union has the autonomy to decide whether or not American citizens are allowed to visit and what protocols they face upon arrival. Things may not change much for those with proof of vaccination, but under the new recommendations, unvaccinated Americans would be subject to extra scrutiny, including quarantines and testing, upon arrival in Europe. 

European Union Safe Country List

In order for a country to find themselves on the “safe” country list, they need to have less than 75 new COVID-19 cases each day per 100,000 people over the previous two weeks. Unfortunately for Americans, the infection rate in the United States is far, far above that 75-case threshold. For example, Florida alone reported over 690 new daily cases per 100,000 people last week, making it one of the most COVID-riddled states in the country. 

For citizens of countries on the safe list, they can visit European Union member states without a mandatory quarantine provided they are fully vaccinated with proof or have a negative PCR test. 

The new recommendations from the EU could reflect some bad-blood going across the pond. America has remained closed to European citizens for leisure travel since the pandemic began, a decision that rubbed many EU member states the wrong way since the decision to open Europe to Americans earlier this summer. 

RELATED: How European Citizens are Getting Around the US Travel Ban 

The news is a blow to companies in the tourism sector, particularly airlines and cruise lines who may see their bookings cool off with the news. We’ll have to wait and see what each individual member state decides to do with the EU’s recommendations, but for now, it’s disappointing news for those ready to take a vacation to Europe.