UPDATE 30/06/2017: The travel ban is back. Travellers from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen (all Muslim-majority countries) can now be denied visas to the US. The Supreme Court has ruled that the travel ban (originally promised as a “Muslim ban” during the election campaign) can enter effect. However, the ruling provided an exception for those with a close relative in the US, including children, parents, or spouses. Refugees are also included as part of the ban. How should Europe respond?
ORIGINAL 01/02/2017: Trump is being Trump. That might come as a shock to some commentators, who had hoped President Trump would take a more cooperative, less combative style once in office. However, those hoping the 70-year-old billionaire might moderate his policies upon assuming the presidency have been left sorely disappointed.
Following an executive order from The Donald, the entire US refugee programme has been suspended for 120 days (and the Syrian refugee programme has been suspended indefinitely). In addition, there is now a 90-day travel ban in place from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (all Muslim-majority). The executive order also effectively prioritises Christians over Muslim refugees, in that religious minorities will now be fast-tracked if they are being persecuted on the basis of their faith.
There have been accusations that the executive order was drafted and implemented in a slapdash fashion, without rigorous legal advice or proper consultation and review from the relevant federal agencies. Certainly, airports across the US seemed to descend into chaos following the order, with thousands of passengers affected, confusion over the scope and legality of the order, and protests springing up against the ban.
Europe has been somewhat divided in its response. Whilst there has been condemnation from many, Italy’s foreign minister, Angelino Alfano, has said Europe is “not in a good position” to criticise Trump’s policy, while Hungary’s Viktor Orbán has enthusiastically welcomed the ban. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, initially declined to comment, but has since issued a rather weak criticism.
How should Europe respond to Trump’s travel ban? Should EU leaders condemn the move? Or is Europe in a poor position to judge the US? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!