3rd 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.

EU keen to repair damage of Trump years

The EU has set out how to undo the damage caused by four years of US president Donald Trump's rule, by trying to "make multilateralism great again".

News in Brief

  1. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing dies from Covid-19 complications
  2. Belgium expelled 15,000 EU nationals in recent years
  3. Centre-right EU lawmakers want to kick out Fidesz MEP
  4. Slovak journalist's killer gets longer sentence
  5. Egyptian leader embarks on 'execution spree'
  6. Covid-19: UK first to approve Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  7. Car kills five people in German town's pedestrian zone
  8. UK warns no-deal Brexit still possible


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 MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  3. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  5. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja

Latest News

  1. EU keen to repair damage of Trump years
  2. Szájer 'sex party' coverage shows Orbán's media control
  3. EU commission mulls ways round Hungary-Poland block
  4. Revealed: Hit to EU mental health services during Covid-19
  5. MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex
  6. Erdoğan to face human rights scrutiny next week, EU says
  7. 2020 Prague European Summit: 'Real solutions, acting together'
  8. Nationwide protests reveal awakening of Poland's youth

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us