Finally, the travel ban from Europe to the US ends.


“We must solve this problem as soon as possible,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, in unusually forceful remarks in August. “This cannot go on for weeks.”

It went on for months.

Countless Europeans missed important family reunions such as reunions, births, weddings, and funerals. Thousands took to social media to pressure governments to end the travel ban, using the hashtag #LoveIsNotTourism.

Eirini Linardaki, a French-Greek visual artist who planned to fly to New York on Monday to meet her partner, said she had felt an injustice over the summer when she saw US planes landing in Paris. “The idea that we could not visit our loved one in the country they are in, we as Europeans were not familiar with that,” he said of pre-pandemic travel.

Ms. Linardaki, 45, still doesn’t take anything for granted: “I keep wondering, is this real?”

Even with the borders reopening, some Europeans are still trying to understand what they’ve been through, said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who specializes in immigration and trade. “This has separated many couples and families, and it has lasted much longer than most people thought,” he said, “so there has been enormous frustration.”

In recent months, Alden said, some European leaders have been frustrated with the Biden administration over issues such as the fortuitous withdrawal from Afghanistan. Then came a diplomatic crisis with France, which reacted furiously after Australia canceled 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 broader goal of easing tensions. “It was a bone that Biden could throw at Europeans,” Alden said. Another, he said, was the recently announced deal for reverse tariffs on steel and aluminum that had been imposed during the Trump administration.

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

“More stressed than excited,” said Line Baumann, a 23-year-old Danish girl who was scheduled to fly to Denver on Monday to meet her boyfriend. “He disappointed us so many times.”


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