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Bloc may end visa-free travel for Americans


04-12-2016 15:02 BJT

The European Union could propose the suspension of visa-free travel for U.S. and Canadian citizens Tuesday. The U.S. and Canada do not include some EU member states on their visa waiver program and Brussels says that needs to change.

U.S. citizens flying into the European Union may soon require visas, something they have not had to do for the past 25 years.

The European Commission says it will consider suspending visa-free travel for U.S. citizens because America does not waive this requirement for five EU countries—Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Poland and Cyprus.

The U.S. says it is working with the individual countries to work out their visa issues, such as high levels of declined visas, and sees it as a bilateral matter.

The European Union is reviewing visa-free access for Turkish citizens as an incentive for Turkey to help with the EU’s refugee and migrant crisis.

Some analysts say that pressing the U.S. on visa issues could backfire. While the European Union insists it has to stand up for tit for tat visa liberalization, there is also another aspect to this—the EU and U.S. have been locked into nearly three years of negotiations over a free trade agreement. Pressing Washington on immigration matters could create unwanted friction on more sensitive matters in transatlantic relations.

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