European Union leaders disapprove of US travel restrictions over coronavirus
European Union leaders said they disapprove of President Donald Trump’s decision to dramatically restrict travel from parts of Europe to the US amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, respectively, said that the outbreak is a “global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action.”
“The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” the statement read.
In the UK, which is exempted from the restrictions, Trump’s decision was received with skepticism by Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the Exchequer, who said there “isn’t evidence that interventions like closing borders or travel bans are going to have a material effect on the spread of infection.”
Speaking to the BBC, Sunak — effectively the country’s finance minister — suggested the UK was not considering a similar ban, saying all decisions “with regard to flight bans are always guided by the science.”
Talking to Talk Radio, Sunak also said the ban “will have significant impact” in the UK’s economy but only “but temporarily.”
Trump’s top advisers had discussed potential new travel advisories on Europe during meetings at the White House on Wednesday, according to two officials familiar with the matter. Administration officials view Europe as a new epicenter for the pandemic.
Some European ambassadors in Washington said they were caught off guard by the announcement and were regrouping to sort out their next steps.
This story is breaking and will be updated.