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EU votes to reintroduce European visas for Americans
Posted on 03/03/2017 17 shares

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The EU has voted to ban visa-free travel in Europe for Americans in an on-going ?visa war? between Brussels and Washington.

A dispute over visas between the European Union and the US has escalated, following an EU vote to stop visa-free travel for Americans. The European parliament came to an agreement yesterday that all Americans must legally apply for visas in order to travel to Europe.

The EU asked US officials notice in 2014 to change visa requirements for five major European countries, Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland, Cyprus and Romania. Citizens of all five countries are still forced to apply for a visa when travelling to the US.

visa-free travel for US citizens banned

visa-free travel for US citizens banned
tanyajohn/123RF

The vote was by a show of hands in Brussels for the EU to reintroduce visas for US citizens travelling to Europe within the next two months. The parliament is now legally obliged to suspend the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) for at least a year.

The European Travel Commission warned the EU that escalating the war with the US would impact Europe's tourism.

Eduardo Santander, executive director of the European Travel commission, and Michael de Blust, secretariat of the Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism, said in a joint letter: "We fully understand and respect the visa waiver reciprocity mechanism embedded in European legislation to ensure that all nationals of Member States part of Schengen can benefit on equal terms from exemption of visa requirement.

"However, we are very concerned about the economic and political impact of a suspension of visa waiver for US nationals. Making it more difficult for US citizens to travel to Europe would certainly deprive the European travel and tourism sector of essential revenue, and put thousands of European jobs at stake in one of the few sectors which experiences a strong growth in employment."

Visas put in place can deter visitors from travelling to a country or continent due to extra costs and time-consuming processes. It is something that most countries remove in the hopes of boosting its tourism industry.

MEP and chair of the Tourism Task Force, Istyan Ujhelyi, said: "The effect of terrorism in Europe in recent years emphasised how fragile our appeal is as a destination in long-haul markets. This is not a time to put unnecessary obstacles in the way of one of the sectors most capable of generating employment."

There has not yet been a response from the US.

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