14 December 2010
Calls to abolish US Visa requirements for all EU citizens
The European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has called on the US to waive visa requirements for all EU citizens.
Four of the EU’s 27 countries still are subject to US Visa requirements: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Poland and Romania.
The European Commission's position has been that the US should introduce a full US Visa Waiver program, which would mean the abolition of visa requirements, for all citizens of member countries.
In a recent meeting with Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski, US president Barack Obama said that abolishing visa requirements for Poles was "a priority.
The number of countries in the EU whose citizens still need to apply for a visa to the US has declined in recent years, but the Commission hopes that eventually the visa requirement will be eliminated for all EU countries.
There are also questions on whether a key precondition for Bulgaria and Romania to be admitted to the US visa waiver program would be for the two EU newcomer countries to be allowed into the Schengen visa scheme.
The prospects for Bulgaria and Romania joining Schengen have been complicated by France and The Netherlands insisting that the two states meet EU standards in justice and home affairs.
The US has strict rules regarding the admission of countries to the visa waiver program, which include the necessity for the country to have low visa refusal numbers and high passport and identity checks.