#Visa: European Commission assesses situation and discusses next steps of visa reciprocity with USA, Canada and Brunei

| April 12, 2016 | 0 Comments

passport1The European Commission today adopted a political Communication on the state of play and way forward as regards the situation of non-reciprocity with certain third countries in the area of visa policy.

While with Japan full reciprocity was achieved in December 2015 and with Australia in June 2015, the USA, Canada and Brunei continue to apply visa requirements for citizens of some EU member states, despite their citizens benefiting from an EU-wide visa waiver.

Visa waiver reciprocity is a principle of the EU’s common visa policy and, under EU rules adopted by the European Parliament and Council in 2001, if, within 24 months, non-reciprocity by third countries is not corrected then this can be cause for suspending the visa waiver for citizens of those third countries. Any such decision must take into account the consequences of the suspension of the visa waiver for the external relations of the EU and its member states.

The Commission has an obligation to react once the 24 month period expires. In the case of the USA, Canada and Brunei, that deadline, set by the EU legislator, has been reached today, 12 April 2016. This is why the Commission is therefore today inviting the European Parliament and the Council to urgently launch discussions and to take a position on the most appropriate way forward in light of the assessment provided by the Commission and to inform the Commission on their respective positions by 12 July 2016 at the latest.

Home Affairs, Migration and Citizenship Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said:Visa reciprocity is a fundamental element of the EU’s common visa policy. EU citizens rightly expect to travel without a visa to any third country whose citizens can enter the Schengen area visa-free. Today, the Commission has assessed the legal, political and economic consequences of a possible temporary suspension of the visa waiver with the US, Canada and Brunei and has asked for positions on the way forward from the European Parliament and the Council. Full visa reciprocity will stay high on the agenda of our bilateral relations with these countries, and we will continue pursuing a balanced and fair outcome.”

A full Press Release and a Memo are available.


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Category: A Frontpage, EU, Travel, Visas

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