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24 Dec 2018

EC discusses visa-reciprocity with US – decides against imposing visa requirements

EU Visa Reciprocity with USThe European Commission reported on the progress achieved in the past 12 month in visa reciprocity with the United States, in a meeting last week.

During the meeting, the commissioners concluded that they will continue to engage with the United states in order to achieve visa-free travel to its 50 states for the five Member States whose citizens still need a visa to travel to the United States.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said that visa reciprocity for all EU member states is a top priority for the Commission.

“Achieving visa reciprocity for all EU Member States is our top priority. Recent experience shows that a continued diplomatic engagement brings positive results and we will stick to this approach also with the United States. Visa-free travel is in the interest of both sides of the Atlantic, and we expect concrete actions on all sides to accelerate progress to achieve this,” he said.

According to a press release of the European Commission, the number of non-reciprocity cases has been vastly reduced during the last three-and-a-half years. Currently the US is the only country in the EU’s visa-free list, which does not grant visa-free access to all EU citizens.

“Over the last 12 months, contacts with the United States have intensified, both at political and at technical level. The Commission has continued to urge the United States to cooperate further with the five Member States concerned: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania to accelerate progress towards full visa reciprocity,” the release reads.

It further lists some of the official meetings between the EU and the US in this direction, including the two recent EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meetings – held in Sofia in May 2018 and in Washington in November 2018.

The commission pledged to continue to actively support the Member States concerns, in order to achieve visa free travel to the US. Following, the EU-US will carry two meetings in the first half of 2019: the Justice and Home Affairs Senior Officials’ Meeting and the Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting.

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