Visa policy: Commission takes stock of progress made towards achieving visa reciprocity for all EU citizens over the past year
The Commission is reporting today on the progress made in the past year towards achieving full visa reciprocity with countries on the EU’s visa-free list, as the Commission committed to in the last report. The United States is currently the only remaining country on the EU’s visa-free list which does not grant visa-free travel to all EU citizens. Active diplomatic engagement and full cooperation of all sides has delivered results: Poland has now entered the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, meaning that since 11 November 2019 its citizens can travel to the United States visa-free for tourism or business purposes for stays of up to 90 days. The Commission has continued to urge the United States to cooperate further with Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania to accelerate progress towards visa-free travel to the U.S. for their citizens. Contacts continued at political level, notably through the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meetings held in Bucharest in June 2019 and in Washington D.C. in December 2019. The Commission will intensify contacts with the United States, in coordination with the four Member States concerned as well as the European Parliament and the Council. Ensuring that third countries on the EU visa-free list grant a reciprocal visa waiver to citizens of all EU Member States is a fundamental principle of EU visa policy. Extraordinary as the times may be in terms of implementation of visa policies worldwide, the Commission considers it important to report on the steps taken in the past year, before the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, to achieve full visa reciprocity with the U.S. for all Member States.