EU-USA-Canada visa free

The progress achieved of full visa reciprocity with Canada and the United States, evaluating the developments over the past five months is reported today by European Commission. The EU and Canada have agreed a clear timeline for achieving full visa waiver reciprocity. However no indications of progress with the United States achieved.

“Guaranteeing full visa reciprocity with Canada and the U.S. remains a priority for the EU. That is why I welcome the commitment and decision of the Canadian authorities to ensure full visa reciprocity for all EU citizens by 1 December 2017= said  Dimitris Avramopoulos Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Commissioner. – “This progress proves that our diplomatic contacts and negotiations have delivered important results. Similarly, we will continue keeping this issue high on the agenda with the new U.S. administration and will continue reiterating the importance of achieving full visa reciprocity for all EU citizens with the U.S. as well.”

Today’s stock-taking follows the Communications adopted in April and July, in which the Commission noted that full visa waiver reciprocity with Canada and the United States had not been achieved for citizens of some EU Member States and announced that it would report back on further progress made in the discussions before the end of the year.

Following intensive efforts between the EU and Canada ahead of the 16th EU-Canada Summit on 30 October 2016 in Brussels, Canada provided a clear timeline for achieving full visa waiver reciprocity for all EU citizens. The Commission will continue its work to ensure that full visa waiver reciprocity – already applied to all other EU Member States – will be put in place by Canada for all Bulgarian and Romanian travellers by the end of 2017.

Despite the stepping up of political and technical contacts, there have not been comparable indications of progress towards the lifting of visas with the United States as those seen with Canada.

The Commission will intensify its efforts without delay to push for full visa waiver reciprocity in coordination with the five Member States concerned – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania – once the new U.S. administration is in place. The next EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial and Senior Officials meeting expected to take place in the first half of 2017 will provide the next occasion to discuss with the new Administration a way forward to achieving this objective.

The Commission will continue to work with the European Parliament and the Council to ensure that the European Union speaks with one voice on this significant matter.

(Source: European External Action Service)

Illustration: EU-Canada Summit 2016, Brussels

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