The United States and Israel have been removed from the European Union’s list of safe countries due to a rise in coronavirus cases, triggering new restrictions on nonessential travel, officials said on Monday.
EU member states are not required to follow the new recommendation but they typically do, although some countries provide an exemption for fully vaccinated travelers. The new restrictions will make it difficult for Americans and Israelis to go on vacation.
The European Council said Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia have also been removed from the list of safe countries and regions. This leaves only 21 countries and regions on the list, including Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, and China.
“Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not [on the list are] subject to temporary travel restriction,” the Council said in a statement. “This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travellers.”
While member states generally follow the recommendations, it is not legally binding. “The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation,” the statement said.