Europe
As Europe struggles financially it bears close scrutiny. So goes the euro, the countries of Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, and the European economy, so goes Europe and so goes the US.

EU Parliament Calls to End Visa-Free Travel for U.S. Citizens

3/2/17
from The Wall Street Journal,
3/2/17:

Nonbinding request unlikely to change EU policy, but reflects rift between bloc and U.S.

The European Union’s parliament on Thursday asked for the bloc to scrap visa-free travel for U.S. citizens within two months in retaliation for the U.S. continuing to exclude five EU countries from its no-visa regime. While the request is nonbinding and unlikely to change EU policy, it reflects hostility among some European politicians to the Trump administration. Under EU visa-reciprocity rules, countries allowed visa-free travel to the EU must replicate the no-visa regime to all EU countries. However, the U.S. Visa Waiver program allowing visa-free travel to citizens from 38 countries is based on a country-by-country analysis of how many of their citizens overstay or are declined visas.

In the EU, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania continue to be outside the Visa Waiver program, years after joining the EU. Cyprus and Poland became members of the EU in 2004, Romania and Bulgaria 10 years ago, and Croatia in 2013. A two-year deadline that lapsed in April 2016 obliging the EU executive to scrap visa-free travel for U.S. citizens has been pushed back last year, as the outgoing Obama administration didn’t commit on the issue before the presidential elections that took place in November. European home-affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, who traveled to Washington last month, spoke to U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly and explained the time constraints and the pressure from the European Parliament to resolve the issue. But with the new administration still defining its policies, EU officials don’t expect the matter to be advanced soon. In written replies to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Avramopoulos said that he is “aware” of the Parliament position. “I was in the U.S. recently and have conveyed our message for full visa reciprocity. As you know, our approach brought results with Canada. We will continue our engagement with the United States on this matter as well our broader cooperation on migration and security.”

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