The European Parliament has urged the Commission to take reciprocal measures against US nationals over America’s failure to lift visa requirements on citizens of Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Poland and Cyprus. MEPs have called on the European Commission to take reciprocal measures against the US due to ongoing US visa requirements for citizens of Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Poland and Cyprus.
European Parliamentarians have urged the Commission to adopt the necessary legal measures “within two months”, the parliament said in a resolution adopted on Thursday.
“The Commission is legally obliged to take measures temporarily reintroducing visa requirements for US citizens, given that Washington still does not grant visa-free access to nationals of five EU countries,” MEPs said.
Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still need to obtain visas to enter the US although US nationals are allowed to travel visa-free in all EU member states.
“If the European Commission does not impose visas for Americans within two months, we will start a case in court for inaction. The law is one and counts for everyone,” Momchil Nekov, a Bulgarian MEP, said in a message on Thursday.
Nekov has referred to the EU mechanism of reciprocity, according to which if a third country does not lift visas within 24 months since it has been notified by the EU, the Commission must take legal measures to suspend the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months.
The parliament recalled that a notification of non-reciprocity was sent to the US on April 12, 2014, meaning that the Commission should have acted to block visa free access to US nationals by April 12, 2016.
The Commission has not taken any legal measures against the US for now, however.
Four other countries were notified about non-reciprocity in 2014, together with the US, namely Japan, Canada, Brunei and Australia.
Japan, Brunei and Australia have since lifted their visa requirements for EU citizens while Canada has announced that it will do so for Bulgarians and Romanians on December 1, 2017.
Following the parliamentary resolution, the Commission will have to make a legislative proposal for suspension of the visa waiver for Americans, which would have to be further approved by the Parliament and the EU Council.