EU Parliament asks Commission to reimpose visas on US

EU Parliament asks Commission to reimpose visas on US


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The European Parliament urged on Thursday the EU Commission to temporarily reimpose visa requirements for U.S. citizens visiting the EU.
It is the last move in a standoff over Washington’s failure to grant visa-free travel for nationals of five EU countries. Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still cannot enter US territory without a visa, while US citizens can travel to all EU countries visa-free.

The Commission was legally bound to propose by last April that visas be reintroduced for U.S. citizens for 12 months but the EU member countries preferred to take no action.

The Commission has cautioned that suspending the visa waiver for Americans would also hurt trade, tourism and the European economy.

MEPs in the past threatened to take the Commission to court if it wouldn’t comply.
The EU Commission is legally obliged to take measures temporarily reintroducing visa requirements for US citizens, given that Washington still does not grant visa-free access to nationals of the above mentioned five EU countries.
The text prepared by the Civil Liberties Committee was adopted by a show of hands.

According to the visa reciprocity mechanism, if a third country does not lift its visa requirements within 24 months of being notified of non-reciprocity, the EU Commission must adopt a delegated act – to which both Parliament and the Council may object – suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months.

Following a notification of non-reciprocity on 12 April 2014, the Commission should have acted before 12 April 2016 but it has yet to take any legal measure. Canada also imposes visa requirements on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, but it has announced that they will be lifted on 1 December 2017.

In April 2014, the European Commission was notified that five countries were not meeting their obligations towards the EU with regard to reciprocity of visa-free travel: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan and the US.

Australia, Brunei and Japan have since lifted their visa requirements for all EU citizens and Canada will do so in December this year.

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