Monday

26th Feb 2018

EU Commission clashes with Parliament on US visas

  • Morales has asked EU officials to explain their approach to the committee (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

The European Parliament has said the European Commission is not doing its legal duty on Canadian and US visas, but member states are willing to give it more time.

Claude Moraes, the British centre-left MEP who chairs the civil liberties committee, told EUobserver on Wednesday (13 July): “It's the committee’s view that the commission is legally obliged to adopt a delegated act which would temporarily suspend visa reciprocity with Canada and the United States.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“We reiterate our call on the commission to carry out this legal obligation”, he added.

“We have invited the commission to the committee to discuss this matter and further action”.

Moraes was referring to the fact that all Canadian and US nationals can enter the EU’s Schengen travel zone without a visa, but Canada requires Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to obtain a permit, while the US requires visas for people from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.

Under the EU’s own laws, the commission was supposed to suspend the Canadian and US waivers already in April due to their lack of reciprocity.

Instead, it asked parliament and EU states to “take a position” on the issue by 12 July, while warning of the political and economic costs of a visa war.

The parliament and member states refused to cooperate, saying there was no legal basis for such an informal consultation.

On Wednesday, the commission promised to “push” Canada and the US for reciprocity and to “report on the further progress made before the end of the year”.

It said it would try to get “tangible progress” on Canada in time for an EU-Canada summit on 27 October.

On Monday, it also convened talks between Canada’s immigration minister and two deputy ministers from Bulgaria and Romania to help move things along.

It promised to raise the issue with US secretary of state John Kerry at a meeting in Brussels on 18 July and at a meeting with US homeland security chiefs foreseen to take place by the end of the year.

Foreshadowing Moraes’ criticism, the commission statement also said it is important “the European Union speaks with one voice on this important matter”.

“With good will and good faith we can solve this problem soon”, migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told press the same day, adding that Canada and the US are Europe’s “important strategic partners”.

Member states had earlier also criticised the commission’s decision not to throw the book at Canada and the US.

But according to the Slovak EU presidency, which is coordinating their positions, their approach has mellowed.

“The presidency welcomes the commission's communication, as we support efforts to reach full visa waiver reciprocity through dialogue”, a Slovak spokeswoman told this website on Wednesday.

Bulgaria, which, along with Romania, has threatened to veto an EU-Canada free trade agreement unless Canada backed down, indicated that it wanted to see faster progress than the commission’s new year-end deadline, however.

“If we have an adequate Canadian proposal in early autumn (before the EU-Canada summit) everything will be fine”, a Bulgarian diplomat said.

EU chokes on US visa dispute

Bulgaria and Romania want the EU to impose visas on US nationals. It probably won’t happen. But EU officials’ attempts to “wiggle” out of it haven’t gone down well.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

Opinion

EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy

Not extending the EU fisheries deal with Morocco to fish off the disputed coast of Western Sahara could deprive the Sahrawi people of much-needed income - and throw into question future EU foreign policy in the name of human rights.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table