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European Union Court of Justice Rejects Parliament’s Bid to Impose Visas on US Citizens


The Court of Justice of the European Union has dismissed an action for failure to act brought by the European Parliament against the EU Commission in October 2020 after the latter had refused to impose visas on United States citizens as a reciprocity measure.

In a judgement made public on September 5, the Court has settled the issue between the Parliament and the Commission, ruling that the EU is not obliged to impose visas on a third country the citizens of which can enter the Schengen Area visa-free, in cases when this particular country imposes visas on the nationals of one or more EU members.

According to the judgement, though in principle only third countries which grant an exemption from the visa requirement to all nationals of EU Member States may benefit from such an exemption for their own nationals, the Commission enjoys discretion to decide whether a suspension of that exemption is justified.

It is therefore not automatically required to suspend the exemption from the visa requirement for nationals of the third country concerned. The Court thus dismisses an action for failure to act brought by the European Parliament against the Commission,” the judgement reads.

Back in October 2020, the EU Parliament had raised the issue of the US making Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot and Romanian nationals to apply for visas for tourism and business purposes, thus not applying a full reciprocity of visa-free entry for all EU nationals.

Upon reviewing the Visa Code, the Parliament concluded that the Commission was obliged to temporarily suspend visa-free entry for US nationals as a reciprocity measure.

The request was turned down by the Commission which considered undertaking such a move inappropriate, that could bring harmful political and economic consequences. In response, the Parliament brought the issue before the Court of Justice.

The Court has now settled that the Commission had the rights to refuse such a request, after the same had taken into account all necessary criteria before deciding not to impose visas on US nationals.

The Commission therefore did not exceed its discretion in taking the view that it was not required to suspend the exemption of United States nationals from the visa requirement, with the result that it cannot be accused of having failed to act,” the Court says.

The US is one of around 60 world countries the citizens of which can enter the EU and Schengen Area countries visa-free. While currently US citizens can travel to Europe with only their valid passports, by the middle of 2024, the same will have to apply for a document called the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).

Most EU citizens already apply for a similar travel authorization named the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) when travelling to the US, aside for the nationals of Bulgaria, Cypris, and Romania, who still need to apply for a US B1/B2 visa.  Croatia on the other hand, became part of the US Visa Waiver Program on December 1, 2021, and since then its citizens can enter the US with only an ESTA too.

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Monte OZ
Monte OZ is a highly accomplished and respected international freelance journalist, travel and active adventure reporter, and leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger based in Africa. With a passion for storytelling, a sense of adventure, and an eye for all things captivating, Monte has become a prominent figure in the world of travel, entertainment, and lifestyle journalism. Born and raised in Africa, Monte developed a deep appreciation for the continent's diverse cultures, rich heritage, and vibrant entertainment scene. His upbringing fueled his desire to share Africa's untold stories and showcase its dynamic lifestyle to a global audience. Monte's extensive experience and expertise have made him a sought-after authority on all things related to travel, adventure, entertainment, and lifestyle in Africa. As an international freelance journalist, Monte has made significant contributions to various prestigious publications worldwide. His captivating articles, insightful interviews, and engaging features have graced the pages of leading entertainment magazines, lifestyle publications, and reputable news outlets. Monte's unique ability to capture the essence of Africa's entertainment and lifestyle scene has garnered widespread acclaim and recognition. With a love for exploration and a thirst for adrenaline, Monte also thrives as an active adventure reporter. He has embarked on daring expeditions, immersing himself in Africa's wild landscapes, and documenting his adrenaline-pumping experiences. Whether it's conquering treacherous peaks, exploring remote jungles, or engaging in heart-pounding activities, Monte's adventurous spirit and daring escapades inspire readers to embrace their own sense of adventure. In addition to his work in journalism and adventure reporting, Monte is a leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger in Africa. Through his influential blog, he offers readers an insider's view of the continent's vibrant entertainment scene, trendy hotspots, fashion trends, culinary delights, and cultural experiences. Monte's unique blend of storytelling, personal insights, and expert recommendations has made his blog a go-to resource for entertainment and lifestyle enthusiasts seeking the pulse of Africa's dynamic culture. Beyond his professional pursuits, Monte is a passionate advocate for promoting Africa's talent, creativity, and cultural diversity. He actively supports and champions emerging artists, musicians, designers, and entrepreneurs, helping to showcase their work to a broader audience. Monte's dedication to promoting Africa's vibrant entertainment and lifestyle industry has positioned him as a respected influencer and tastemaker within the African and global entertainment communities. With a commitment to excellence, a passion for exploration, and a talent for captivating storytelling, Monte Oz continues to captivate audiences worldwide. As an international freelance journalist, travel and active adventure reporter, and leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger, his work has left an indelible mark on the world of journalism, travel, and entertainment, solidifying his position as a trusted authority and go-to resource for all things related to African travel, adventure, and lifestyle.