Published on Friday, March 3, 2017

Europe votes to revoke visa-free entry for US travelers

The European Union has stepped up the pressure on the US by voting to rescind the visa waiver program for all US citizens.
 
It is part of a tit-for-tat response over a long-running dispute as the US government has failed to give visa-free access to five member states of the EU.
 
Those countries are Poland, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and Cyprus.
 
The EU constitution calls for equal status for all member states. All other EU countries enjoy visa-free travel to the US.
 
The European Parliament voted to end the visa-free facility for US travelers 'within two months' although that is unlikely to happen.
 
European Commission officials have targeted a planned EU-US ministerial meeting on June 15 to hopefully resolve the impasse.
 
"We will report on further progress made before the end of June and continue to work closely with both the European Parliament and the council," a commission spokeswoman said.
 
A deadline for the US to offer reciprocal visa waivers to the five countries expired in April 2016 without any action being taken by the EU.
 
That is likely due to the financial hit of drastically reduced inbound tourism and business travel from the US.
 



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