Visa-free travel for Americans within the EU has been ended after a vote by the European Parliament.
Reciprocity agreement not honored:
The vote comes after citizens of five EU countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania, were not given visa-free travel to the US, as part of a reciprocity agreement. US citizens were able to travel to all countries in the bloc without a visa.
The parliament’s civil liberties committee, which issued the vote, urged the cancelation of the scheme within two months, meaning Americans will have to apply for extra documents for 12 months after the European Commission implement it.
Three years ago, the Commission discovered that the US was not meeting its responsibilities under the reciprocity agreement, but it hasn’t taken any legal action yet.
Australia, Brunei, Japan and Canada were also failing in their obligations, but they have all removed, or are in the process of removing visa restrictions on travel for EU citizens
Legally, the Commission has to suspend the visa waiver for Americans. However, the European Parliament or the Council of the European Union could object.
According to a statement by the parliament issued in December, MEPs pushed for Washington to play its part. Dimitris Avramopoulos, Migration Commissioner, warned of consequences, including potential retribution and a drop in tourists’ numbers causing substantial losses for the continent’s tourism industry.
Visa free travel for Georgians:
A few days ago, the Council liberalized the visa regime for Georgia citizens travelling into the EU. Georgians can now stay in any EU country for 90 days in any period of 180 days without needing a visa. However, this decision is still subject to final approval of the regulation.
Malta’s minister for national security, Carmelo Abela, said that this agreement will bring Georgians and the EU strengthening tourism and business ties. It follows the completion of the necessary reforms by Georgia, addressing document security, border management, migration and asylum.
According to a report, the EU was considering the adoption of a US-style electronic travel permit scheme. This will create a new administrative obstacle for British tourists after Brexit.