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    Commission will not suspend American visa exemption

    © Belga
    The Commission takes the view that suspending the visa exemption for North American citizens would be the wrong course of action. Canada, for example, is already taking steps to remove certain visa restrictions for EU citizens.
    © Belga

    Yesterday (Tuesday) the Commission rejected the European Parliament’s request to temporarily suspend the visa exemption obligation. This exemption currently applies to Canadian and US citizens travelling in Europe.

    The Executive considers that such action would be “counterproductive at this stage. It would not serve the goal consistent with achieving a visa exemption regime for all EU citizens” going to both of these North American states.

    On March 2nd this year, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution in this sphere.

    This invited the European Commission to suspend the visa exemption obligation for third-country citizens, from countries which do not grant reciprocal visa arrangements to citizens of all EU member states.

    The reasoning behind this is that citizens from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still can not enter American soil without a visa.

    This contrasts with American citizens who can travel within the whole of the EU without this document.

    Certain categories of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens should also carry visa documentation when going to Canada.

    The European Executive stressed yesterday that its own diplomatic approach has already started to make tangible progress.

    The Commission indicated, “Canada lifted the visa obligation for certain categories of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens on May 1st (two days ago). It is on track to achieve complete reciprocity by December 1st, 2017.”

    The Executive went on, “Moreover, contacts were re-established with the new American administration so as to insist upon obtaining full visa reciprocity for the five EU states affected.”

    The Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said, “The dialogue with our strategic partners is the key to making progress, and we’re on the right track.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times