On Tuesday 12 April, the EC will debate in Strasbourg (where the EP will be sitting in plenary) the issue of visa-free travel for US and Canadian citizens. EU does not require Americans and Canadians to have a visa if they travel to EU countries. It also asks for full reciprocity, i.e. US and Canadian visa waiver for all of its Member States. However, for a long time the US require visas from Poles, Cypriots, Bulgarians, Romanians, as well as Croats. The Canadians require visas from nationals of Bulgaria and Romania. Negotiations have not led to a substantial change so far. The EU thus considers retaliatory action – temporary reintroduction of visas for US and Canadian nationals. This would be a serious course of action – the US would be required by their legislation to reintroduce visa for all EU states (Canada indicated it need not take the same steps). This would be hugely unpopular with the EU population, however, the EU pushes strongly for visa-free regime for all of its members and its own reports suggest no other action could trigger a reaction from the US side. The radical step would also be problematic in relation to the ongoing TTIP talks, as well as the upcoming trip of President Obama to Europe. Insiders indicate temporary reintroduction of visas for Americans and Canadians is a real possibility. Nevertheless, the issue is of great importance and the decision is largely political, so such action is far from certain at this point.
26th July 2019