Friday, 10 March 2017

EUROPE: European Parliament Wants U.S. Citizens To Apply For Visas Before Traveling To Europe

The European Parliament wants U.S. citizens to have to apply for visas before traveling to Europe this summer.

The issue has developed due to an ongoing dispute over U.S. treatment of citizens from Eastern European countries such as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, who are part of the EU but who are not allowed visa-free travel to the U.S. through the visa-waiver program.

The European Parliament is pressuring the EU executive to force Americans to apply for visas in retaliation.

Forcing Americans to obtain visas would definitely put a dent in Europe’s tourism industry especially during the busy summer season, which is why the European Commission says it is pursuing a resolution through diplomatic channels.

On June 15, EU Commission officials will meet with the U.S. to discuss the issue.

"We will report on further progress made before the end of June and continue to work closely with both the European Parliament and the Council," a Commission spokeswoman said, referring to the council which groups the governments of the 28 EU member states.

In the meantime, negotiations are taking place to resolve the issue, allowing for full “visa reciprocity,” an official said.

While European lawmakers voted with a show of hands to impose restrictive measures on American travelers, they have little power.