Friday

18th Oct 2019

visa

  • People from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still need visas to travel to the US (Photo: The Hamster Factor)

US travellers to the EU won't require visas despite demands from the European Parliament.

The European Commission on Tuesday (2 May) told reporters that such a move would not be in the mutual interest of EU citizens.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"The European Union will always choose engagement, commitment, and passionate diplomacy over any form of unilateral retaliation," said EU commissioner for home affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The US administration has so far refused to lift visa requirements on EU nationals from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. Canada had also imposed restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians.

As a result, lawmakers in the EU parliament passed a non-binding resolution in March demanding the EU commission to reintroduce visas for US and Canadian citizens.

The tit-for-tat measure has sparked fears among senior EU officials, who believe the proposed visas would make travelling to the US and Canada more difficult for EU citizens.

Avramopoulos said a ministerial meeting will instead take place in June with US counterparts in an effort to iron out differences.

The commissioner has also been in contact with secretary of US homeland security, John F Kelly, to "clarify many points on these bilateral issues".

But Tuesday's move to maintain visa-free travel for Americans is likely to be viewed as capitulation by an EU parliament, which has threatened to take the commission to the European Court of Justice over the matter.

EU law obliges the commission to impose the visas on the US because of their refusal to lift restrictions on the handful of EU states.

The commission is hoping to convince critics that its marginal success in similar issues with Canada is the best strategy moving forwards.

Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, who have held a Canadian temporary visa in the past ten years or who currently hold valid US non-immigrant visa, are now able to travel visa-free to the country.

The plan is to allow all other Bulgarians and Romanians visa-free travel to Canada by the start of December.

"The rest of Romanian and Bulgarian travellers will become visa free as of December 1st of this year," said Avramopoulos.

EU hopes Trump will back down on visa war

The Commission is hoping that Trump, the incoming US president, will back down in a potential visa war, but terrorist attacks in Europe could make that less likely.

EU and US discuss in-flight laptop ban

A meeting between US and EU officials in Brussels on possibly imposing a laptop ban on commercial flights was described by one senior Trump administration official as "robust".

UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit

The EU Commission says extra revenue generated from a new visa-free travel scheme, to launch in 2020, would go to the EU budget, reducing member state contributions.

News in Brief

  1. Macron: Nato's inability to react to Turkey a 'mistake'
  2. EU: US can expect counter measures after tariff move
  3. Almost 7,500 people forcibly returned to Libya in 2019
  4. Puigdemont released after responding to arrest warrant
  5. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  6. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  7. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  8. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us