Brussels, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- Brussels on Thursday criticized Donald Trump’s decision to ban flights from the majority of the European Union from entering the United States as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Trump announced the new travel restrictions against the 26 continental EU nations, which form part of the Schengen free-travel area, in an Oval office statement Wednesday. He said the rules, which exempt the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, would begin Friday.
In a statement the following day, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council chief Charles Michel, voiced their opposition to the drastic move.
“The Coronavirus 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 U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation. The European Union is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”
Trump said that trade would not be affected by the travel ban.
EU airlines have come forward to ask for urgent measures to protect the industry from the damaging effects of the coronavirus.
Airlines4Europe, which represents several major carriers like Iberia and Lufthansa, asked the EU to implement new flexible rules on routes and airport slots until the end of the summer.
The EU has already agreed to waiver the “use it or lose it” rule on the slots but has yet to put the regulation into action.
Thomas Reynaert, the managing director of A4E, said: “We are now faced with another situation in which there are no formal rules to limit the financial liability of our airlines in case of extraordinary circumstances, be it the eruption of an Icelandic volcano or the current COVID-19 outbreak.”
Several EU nations are struggling to bring the coronavirus outbreak under control.
Authorities in Italy, the worst-affected region outside China, have placed the entire country on lockdown as cases soared above 10,000.
In Spain, Real Madrid football club, one of the most famous sporting brands in the world, went into self-quarantine after a player from the basketball team tested positive for the virus.
In the Republic of Ireland schools and universities have been closed across the country.EFE-EPA