Europe

EU threatens to introduce visas for US travellers

Passport control at Heathrow airport (04 August 2014) Image copyright PA
Image caption Despite the threat, any change in rules could take years

US citizens should be refused visa-free access to the EU in response to American visa rules affecting citizens from five EU countries, the European Parliament has said.

Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania are currently denied visa-free access to the US.

The European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution on Thursday.

However, member states would have to approve the move, a process that could take years.

Nevertheless, the resolution, passed by a show of hands, said the new visa rules should come into effect quickly and should remain in place until the US visa requirements were shelved.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption US citizens at the moment can travel to all EU countries without visas

A European Parliament statement said the EU Commission was legally obliged to temporarily reintroduce the new visa rules because of its reciprocity policy.

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Under these rules, "if a third country does not lift its visa requirements within 24 months of being notified of non-reciprocity, the EU Commission must adopt a delegated act... suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months", the statement said.

It said a notification of non-reciprocity was first received in April 2014 - meaning the Commission should have taken action in April 2016 - but so far it has yet to do so.

Canada also has visa requirements for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, the statement said, but it has announced that these will be shelved in December.

In January, President Donald Trump attempted to introduce a travel ban on people from seven mainly Muslim nations but it was blocked in the courts. He is working on a new executive order.

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