FOREIGN POLICY

In possible response to Trump, EU parliament calls to end visa-free travel for US citizens

Insight from former Senator Scott Brown

 

In what has been called a “visa war,” the European Union’s parliament on Thursday called on the bloc to force American tourists visiting Europe to first obtain visas because the U.S. excludes five EU countries from its no-visa policy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the request is unlikely to change policy, but reflects “hostility among some European politicians to the Trump administration.”

The report said Parliament’s vote came six weeks into Trump’s presidency and after the legislature publically slammed Trump’s executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

U.S. citizens can travel to all EU countries without visas but the U.S. hasn’t granted visa-free travel to citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.

NEW TRAVEL BAN COMING IN DAYS, PENCE SAYS

The legislature urged the European Commission to act within two months. The Commission was legally bound to propose by last April that visas be reintroduced for U.S. citizens for 12 months but the 28-nation bloc’s member countries preferred to take no action.

The Commission has cautioned that suspending the visa waiver for Americans would also hurt trade, tourism and the European economy.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European home-affairs commissioner, traveled to Washington last month to talk about the issue. He wrote to The Journal: “As you know, our approach brought results with Canada. We will continue our engagement with the United States on this matter as well our broader cooperation on migration and security.”

He was referring to Canada’s decision to lift all remaining visa requirements for EU citizens by the end of the year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report