A transatlantic dispute running since 2014 which does not allow nationals of five EU countries, namely Cyprus, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania, to enter the US without a visa, was on the agenda of talks between EU and US justice and home affairs ministers in Washington DC, last week.
The two sides said progress had been made by the five countries towards being considered for visa-free travel into the US, with both sides agreeing to meet again in the first half of 2019 in Bucharest.
“The United States and the European Union agreed on the importance of advancing towards reciprocal visa free travel under their respective legal frameworks and, following the most recent tripartite meeting on visa reciprocity, welcomed the progress of the five concerned member states towards meeting the statutory requirements of the visa waiver program, in order to be considered for designation in the program,” the European Commission said in a statement.
Under the current deal, nationals of 23 out of the 28 EU member states are allowed to enter the US without a visa.
Backed by the European Commission, Cyprus, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania have repeatedly called on Brussels to end US discrimination against their citizens as EU rules call for equal treatment for all its citizens.
On the sidelines of the meeting, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos discussed immigration, the fight against terrorism, border management and cooperation in the field of drug control with justice ministers from Austria and Romania.