The European Parliament (EP) voted for changing the regulations of the European Union referring to visas, which will introduce a new mutual clause that forces the US and Canada to remove visas for Romanian citizens.
‘This way a de facto solidarity will be created both inside the Union and in the relations with its partners. More than 100 million citizens of the 6 EU member states that are given a different treatment when it comes to the visas for the US might directly and immediately benefit by the new rules referring to visas. The United States of America and Canada will be determined to extend their programmes on travelling without visas to the entire Europe. Moreover, the new mutual mechanism in the field of visas would in the future protect all the member states from other treatments that are discriminatory from this point of view. It is my responsibility in my capacity as a member of the European Parliament to struggle for a powerful policy of the EU in the field of visas to the US and Canada, but also as a representative of Romanian citizens, to struggle for their rights to visas,’ says MEP Ioan Enciu, joint initiator of the new mutual clause, in a release he sent to Agerpres.
According to him, the change of Regulation 539/2001 will improve the European Union’s policy in the field of visas as the rule of mutuality will turn executory indeed. Visas will be introduced again automatically and compulsorily in case the third state under consideration has not lifted the compulsory visa requirements for an EU member state. This change will come into force within 24 months after the publication of the new legislation in the EU Official Journal.
The text that was proposed is the result of an agreement with the Council and after months of hard negotiations they made two major changes. First of all they strengthen the so-called ‘mutual mechanism,’ a political mechanism that might be activated as an act of solidarity when a third country, whose citizens do not need a visa to come to the EU (such as the citizens of the US and Canada), applies or maintains compulsory visas for the citizens of one or more EU member states. Second, they create a suspension mechanism, which could temporarily suspend the exemption from visas for a third country in case of an emergency situation, reads the above-mentioned release.
At present citizens from Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Cyprus and Croatia must have visas in order to travel to the US and/or Canada.
‘This requirement is discriminatory as it makes a difference among the citizens of the EU, even if the EU has a common visa policy. Moreover, it is a clear violation of the mutual principle as the citizens coming from the US and Canada can move to all the EU member states without visas. The new legislation will create an automatic mechanism that should make sure that the EU will impose compulsory visas for any third country that introduces or maintains visas for the citizens of one or more member states,’ explains the Social Democrat parliamentarian.
As for the suspension mechanism, it stipulates that an EU member state can inform the Commission in case it faces an emergency situation connected to a powerful increase in the number of illegal migrants or certain pressures on the asylum system.
The Commission will make a final assessment, considering the circumstances notified by the member state or states, the general impact referring to the situation of the growing migration in the Union, the reports drawn up by international organizations as well as the general question of the public policies and domestic security. The above-mentioned mechanism will work for seven years, a span of time during which the EU will negotiate an alternative solution with the states concerned