US and Canada nationals traveling to Europe will not need a visa the European Commission decided this week due to the “significant progress achieved during the last year” adding that it “would be counterproductive at this moment and would not serve the objective of achieving visa-free travel for all EU citizens”.
The issue was raised in March, when European lawmakers pushed for the imposition of visa requirements on US citizens traveling to Europe in a move towards resolving a transatlantic dispute running since 2014 which does not allow nationals of five EU countries – Cyprus, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania – to enter the US without a visa.
“EU will always choose engagement, commitment and patient diplomacy over unilateral retaliation #visareciprocity,” said EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos in a tweet after the vote.
Canada has now agreed to full visa reciprocity by December 1, 2017.
Avramopoulos said that a ministerial meeting was set take place next month with US officials in an effort to resolve the issue.
“Our goal is and remains to obtain full visa reciprocity with both Canada and the US. Our continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts over the past year have brought tangible results already with Canada, and we are committed to proceeding in the same way with the US. Dialogue with our strategic partners is the right way forward and we are on the right track,” Avramopoulos said.
A potential decision to reinstate visa requirements for Americans traveling to Europe would have taken a toll on EU tourism amid impending issues including Brexit, the weakening euro and safety.