Tuesday

1st Dec 2020

EU Commission rejects retaliatory visas for US citizens

  • Bulgarians, Croatians, Cypriots and Romanians still need a visa to enter the United States for short stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period) (Photo: Wally Gobetz)

The European Commission has dismissed demands from the European Parliament to impose visas on US visitors.

With citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania still requiring a visa to enter the United States for short stays, MEPs had last week demanded the commission slap similar requirements on US nationals.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But the commission on Friday (23 October) rejected the idea, telling reporters it would be counter-productive.

A commission spokesperson said any such moves "would inevitably lead to the United States to impose visa requirements on all EU citizens."

He said the four EU states had made some progress in terms of getting the US visas waived, noting some are close to achieving the objective.

"None of them has asked the commission to temporarily suspend visa free travel for US citizens and they all agree to continue this dialogue ," he said.

But MEPs are unlikely to be happy with the response.

In a recent resolution, they said the commission should have already proposed suspending US visa waivers four years ago.

They want visas imposed on US nationals for at least 12 months, citing EU legislation that requires the commission to act - given Washington has refused to freely admit EU citizens from the four member states.

Spanish socialist MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, who steers the EU parliament on the debate, described the US imposed visas as unacceptable.

"The discrimination that Bulgarians, Croatians, Cypriots and Romanians experience when travelling to the US is unacceptable," he said, in a statement.

Similar demands were made by the European Parliament in early 2017.

Poles at the time also required entry visas to the US.

This restriction was then lifted last year, leaving Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania as the only remaining EU states that require a US visa.

EU threatens to impose visas on US citizens

EU top diplomat in US, writing on behalf of 28 member states, warned of "reciprocal measures" if Congress passes bill to impose visas on EU nationals deemed security risks.

EU counts cost of US visa war

US nationals could be forced to seek EU visas from mid-October. But the move would be a "disaster" for bilateral relations and would cost billions if implemented.

Interview

Lithuania bids to host EU cyber-centre

Lithuania wants a new EU cyber-security centre to hang its flag in a historic TV tower in Vilnius, on one of Europe's modern front lines.

News in Brief

  1. EU medical agency to decide on Pfizer and Moderna vaccines
  2. Euro-bailout fund to also help banks
  3. Trade unions urge date for pay transparency directive
  4. 33 governments must answer youth climate lawsuit
  5. US slams Hungarian article for Soros/Hitler comparison
  6. Sturgeon doesn't rule out 2021 Scottish independence vote
  7. Hungary's Orban and Poland's Morawiecki meet again
  8. Gran Canaria migrant camp dismantled

Opinion

The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE

An internal power struggle has undermined the world's leading international security body since the summer. The OSCE is due to finally get new leaders in December but the unprecedented power vacuum has hit at a crunch time for hotspots worldwide.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. China and Russia encircling divided Western allies
  2. Fish complicates last push for post-Brexit deal
  3. EU emissions down 24% on 1990 - but still off 2030 target
  4. Hungary must keep Russian vaccine within borders, says EU
  5. If EU is serious, it should use more US liquified gas, not less
  6. EU taxpayers in the dark on US corona-drug deal
  7. EU debates first names to go on human rights blacklist
  8. Lithuania bids to host EU cyber-centre

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us