President Donald Trump’s ban on most travel from 26 European countries caused uproar on the continent early Thursday, with EU leaders blasting Trump’s decision saying they disapprove the unilateral move.
European Union leaders issued a rare joint statement condemning Trump’s move, saying it was taken “unilaterally and without consultation.”
They also condemned attacks Trump made on them during an address the night before, when Trump accused the EU of spreading the virus in the US by not imposing sufficient travel restrictions on China and elsewhere.
“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” said a joint statement from Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, presidents of the European Commission and European Council respectively.
“The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” they added. “The European Union is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”
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.
Source: NBC News and CNN