A non-binding resolution has been pass by the European Parliament which calls for the reinstatement of visa requirements for Americans in Europe. This move raises the stakes in a political game between the two of the world’s biggest economies, which started when the US refused to give visa-free access to citizens of five European Union countries.
Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania were refused visa-free access to the United States and the EU has returned the gesture, demanding restrictions on American travelers.
“You’re talking about citizens from countries, like Poland, with a major diaspora in the United States. You’re really seeing frustration and anger, and without any timetable, this is becoming increasingly seen as second-class treatment.” – Claude Moraes – British lawmaker who leads the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament.
Whilst the resolution may have been non-binding and might not become a full policy, the move was a signal that the pressure is on the European Commission to stand up to the United States and Donald Trump’s administration. The European Parliament has indicated that it will step up pressure on the European Commission to stand up to the US.
“Only when the U.S. fully gets that the European Commission is going to act are we going to get any kind of timetable from the United States. At the moment, the U.S. just believes the commission is not going to act but stick with the pragmatic argument that doing so would create damage that’s just too great. There’s no denying heightened concern about the current administration, but that’s more about uncertainty about who’s in charge and how the State Department is working.” – Claude Moraes
Legal measures will begin within 2 months to impose visas on American travelers to the EU. Not all within the European parliament are for pushing the US into a corner as it could be financially punishing for the EU. If the visas are imposed then the Trump Administration would likely do the same.
A similar event occurred in 2014 when the European Commission was notified that Australia, Brunei, Canada and Japan were not allowing some EU citizens visa-free access. Most of these differences have since been resolved.