European Union Ratchets Up Rhetoric On U.S. Visa-Free Travel

by Richard D’Ambrosio
European Union Ratchets Up Rhetoric On U.S. Visa-Free Travel

Photo: Thijs ter Haar


In a battle of tit for tat, the European Parliament is threatening to impose visa requirements for U.S. citizens visiting the European Union (EU).

Members of the European Parliament are upset over the U.S. government’s failure to grant visa-free travel to America for nationals of five EU countries, and yesterday urged the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, to rescind visa-free travel by May.

Other media outlets have been inferring in their reporting that the European Commission will be imposing visa requirements on American travelers this summer. While legislators have urged the Commission to do so, the Commission is still negotiating with the U.S. government at this point.

Reuters reported that the Commission “was pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the row,” fearing that taking action would deter U.S. travelers during the peak summer season, and hurt European tourism.

The U.S. has yet to grant visa-free travel to citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania, while the EU allows Americans to travel freely throughout the 28 nations that make up the bloc. EU rules call for equal treatment for all Union citizens.

The ongoing battle only heightened recently. By EU law, the Commission should have taken up the proposal last April, but it took no action.

In April 2014, the European Commission was notified that five countries, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan and the U.S., were not meeting their obligations towards the EU with regard to reciprocity of visa-free travel. Since then, Australia, Brunei and Japan lifted their visa requirements for all EU citizens. Canada will be lifting its restrictions Dec. 1, 2017.

 

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