EU Commission Won’t Require Visas For US Citizens As ‘Retaliation’

The European Commission said Tuesday that it won’t require visas for Canadian and American nationals. The Commission said that the European Parliament resolution calling on the Commission to suspend the visa waiver for Canadian and American nationals would be counterproductive.

The Commission said, “in view of the significant progress achieved during the last year and the positive momentum of ongoing work, the temporary suspension of visa waivers for nationals of Canada and the United States would be counterproductive at this moment and would not serve the objective of achieving visa-free travel for all EU citizens”

The Commission argued that its diplomatic approach meanwhile has already started to bring tangible results: Canada lifted the visa requirements for some categories of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens on May 1, 2017 and is set to achieve full reciprocity as of December 1, 2017 and contacts have been re-launched with the new US administration to push for full visa reciprocity for the five EU Member States concerned.

According to Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, “Our goal is and remains to obtain full visa reciprocity with both Canada and the U.S. Our continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts over the past year have brought tangible results already with Canada, and we are committed to proceeding in the same way with the U.S. Dialogue with our strategic partners is the right way forward and we are on the right track.”

The Commission reported on visa reciprocity in April, July and December, welcoming the clear timeline provided by Canada for achieving full visa reciprocity for all EU citizens and committing to re-launching efforts with the new U.S. administration with the aim of agreeing on a way forward for the five EU Member States concerned in the first half of 2017.

Canada

On October 30, 2016, Canada provided a clear timeline for achieving visa reciprocity for all EU citizens and has so far delivered on this commitment by lifting visa requirements on some categories of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens as of May 1, 2017. The Commission welcomes Canada’s continued engagement and will remain in close contact with Bulgaria, Romania and Canada, both at technical and political level, to ensure that full visa reciprocity is achieved by 1 December 2017.

The United States

During the last months, contacts with U.S. interlocutors at the political and technical level were intensified, leading to the launch of a result-oriented process to bring the five EU Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania) into the Visa Waiver Program.

The U.S. reconfirmed its commitment to admit the five EU Member States into the Program once they meet all the requirements set out by U.S. legislation. To this end, the need to accelerate the necessary work on the outstanding requirements was stressed. The Commission, in close cooperation with the five Member States concerned, said it will work with the U.S. on a way forward to be endorsed in a Joint Statement by the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting in June 2017.

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