A Global Pandemic Sparking U.S. Tensions with the European Union
Updated: Jan 13
The President at a White House press conference on April 1, 2020. (Andrea Hanks/White House)
In response to the disastrous coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump announced a European travel ban in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus. The ban will be effective for 30 days until further assessment of the situation and was enacted at midnight on Friday, March 13.
The EU Response
European Union leaders are not pleased with the United States President’s decision.
“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent, and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” said European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
What angered them the most was when Trump announced on Wednesday, March 11 that infection clusters in the United States were “seeded” by European travelers, and that “the European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots.”
Michael and von der Leyen made it a point to state that the EU is taking strong action to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Additionally, EU leaders condemned Trump’s lack of confrontation before enacting the travel ban. Trump defended his decision to not consult leaders of the EU before he announced the 30-day travel suspension.
“When they raise taxes on us, they don’t consult us,” Trump said.
To many, the travel ban initially was seen as a way to target the European Union, which happens to be a major trading partner with several member countries and US allies in NATO.
This belief was partly because of the fact the United Kingdom was not originally included in the restriction. Trump explained that the reason being was because the UK was not included in the Schengen area. However as the number of cases rose, Trump revised this and included the UK in the ban.
Typically, the World Health Organization advises against travel bans but the effects of Trump’s European one is left to be seen.