Demands “visa reciprocity” that Obama refused for five EU countries
The Obama administration refused to grant visa-free travel to the U. S. from five EU countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, and Romania. The EU Parliament has been protesting that decision since at least 2014 and had been putting pressure on the Obama administration to relent; however, no progress was made.
Now that President Trump is in office, however, the EU Parliament has decided that it’s time to step up the pressure on the Trump administration regarding the long-standing lack of “visa reciprocity” and to propose (threaten?) the end to visa-free travel to all EU countries for U. S. citizens.
In what has been called a “visa war,” the European Union’s parliament on Thursday called on the bloc to force American tourists visiting Europe to first obtain visas because the U.S. excludes five EU countries from its no-visa policy.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the request is unlikely to change policy, but reflects “hostility among some European politicians to the Trump administration.”
The report said Parliament’s vote came six weeks into Trump’s presidency and after the legislature publically slammed Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
U.S. citizens can travel to all EU countries without visas but the U.S. hasn’t granted visa-free travel to citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.
. . . . The legislature urged the European Commission to act within two months. The Commission was legally bound to propose by last April that visas be reintroduced for U.S. citizens for 12 months but the 28-nation bloc’s 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.
The EU Parliament, citing its success in getting Canada to change its policy about visa reciprocity with Bulgaria and Romania, seems to believe this threat will be the impetus President Trump needs to reverse a policy that even the Obama administration recognized as necessary.
Fox News continues:
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European home-affairs commissioner, traveled to Washington last month to talk about the issue. He wrote to The Journal: “As you know, our approach brought results with Canada. We will continue our engagement with the United States on this matter as well our broader cooperation on migration and security.”
He was referring to Canada’s decision to lift all remaining visa requirements for EU citizens by the end of the year.
Watch the report:
Adding visa hoop-jumping to the increasingly unattractive prospect of vacationing in a Europe swarming with potentially-violent refugees and terrorists doesn’t seem like a great idea. Indeed, the non-binding resolution appears to be a ploy rather than an actual move to impose visa requirements on U. S. citizens traveling to Europe.
The European Parliament called on the EU executive on Thursday to force Americans to apply for visas before visiting Europe this summer, stepping up pressure to resolve a long-running transatlantic dispute on the issue.
. . . . The European Commission stressed it was pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the row, leaving it unlikely that it would act on the vote by lawmakers setting a May deadline to impose visas – a move that could hurt Europe’s tourism sector.
. . . . Commission officials noted a planned EU-U.S. ministerial meeting on June 15 to try and resolve the issue, which has been running since 2014. The EU executive already allowed a deadline for a solution to pass nearly a year ago, without taking action.
. . . . A Commission official said contacts are ongoing with the U.S. administration “to push for full visa reciprocity,” but fell short of saying that immediate action would be taken.
Former Communist countries Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, as well as the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, have been calling on Brussels to end U.S. discrimination against their citizens.
But the economic cost of imposing visa restrictions on the millions of American tourists and business travelers who visit Europe each year is a major disincentive.
In other words, Americans wishing to travel to Europe need not worry about needing a visa for the foreseeable future.