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The European Commission asks the United States to abolish visas for all EU countries, including Romania

The European Commission reiterated on Wednesday its appeal to the United States to remove travel visas for all EU Member States, including Romania.

Remarks of Commissioner Avramopoulos on fulfilment of visa liberalisation benchmarks and on progress towards achieving full visa reciprocity:

„Today, there is only one case where reciprocity is not respected for all EU Member States: the United States still require visas for citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. 

Visa-free travel to the United States for all EU citizens is a priority for us, and we have intensified our contacts with the United States over the past year with the objective of bringing the five countries concerned into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. 

All five countries have made good progress when it comes to fulfilling the requirements set by the United States, particularly as regards implementing bilateral security agreements with the US. 

Right now, the main legal obstacle for the majority of them remains the visa refusal rate. 

Here too however we see tangible progress, which has been acknowledged by the United States:

- Bulgaria has recorded a decrease in refusal rates

- Romania's refusal rate has remained steady

- Poland and Croatia are close to meeting the threshold

- and Cyprus remains under the threshold  

What this shows is that our continued engagement bears fruit. 

I am confident that it will ultimately result in citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania also being able to travel to the United States without a visa. 

Our support to these Member States is a given. Both practical, in terms of funding information campaigns to their citizens on how to meet US visa requirements in order to bring refusal rates down; but also political, in terms of putting our full weight behind their efforts. 

I have personally raised the issue of reciprocity on every possible opportunity with our American friends. We therefore continue to consider that suspending visa-free travel for US citizens would not serve our interests. It would also undermine the positive progress achieved so far and the results of our continuous diplomatic efforts and engagements towards meeting the Visa Waiver Programme requirements.  

Our position can of course be reviewed in light of future developments, but a suspension would very likely lead to significant negative impacts on both sides of the Atlantic. Visa-free travel is both in our interest and in the interest of the United States. 

We are determined to do everything in our power to achieve visa free travel for all EU citizens and we will continue working with the United States and the five countries concerned towards this goal.”



Thursday, December 20, 2018