BRUSSELS, (Xinhua) — In a resolution approved on Thursday, members of European Parliament (MEPs) urged the executive arm of the European Union (EU) to temporarily reintroduce visa requirements for citizens of the United States.
The text, prepared by the civil liberties committee, was adopted by a show of hands in the plenary of the European Parliament in Brussels. The MEPs urged for the measures to be adopted “within two months.”
The EU lawmakers argued that the European Commission was legally obliged to adopt the necessary legal measures, given that Washington still does not grant visa-free access to nationals of five EU countries.
Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still cannot enter U.S. territory without a visa, while U.S. citizens can travel to all EU countries visa-free.
According to the visa reciprocity mechanism, if a third country does not lift its visa requirements within 24 months of being notified of non-reciprocity, the commission must adopt a delegated act — to which both Parliament and the Council may object — suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months.
Following a notification of non-reciprocity on April 12, 2014, the European Commission should have acted before April 12, 2016, but it has yet to take any legal measure, the lawmakers complained.
In April 2014, the European Commission was notified that five countries were not meeting their obligations towards the EU with regard to reciprocity of visa-free travel: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan and the United States.
Australia, Brunei and Japan have since lifted their visa requirements for all EU citizens and Canada will do so in December this year.