European Parliament: plenary session adopts amendments to EU visa rules to introduce a new 'last resort' visa waiver suspension mechanism

Friday, October 4, 2013

The new mechanism will enable a six month suspension of visa free travel for citizens of specified third countries. Two objectives of the mechanism are identified. (1) To encourage 'visa reciprocity', by reimposing visa requirements for nationals of countries that still impose them on EU citizens (e.g. the USA, which still imposes visa requirements on citizens from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Poland). (2) To 'halt substantial and sudden increases in irregular migrant numbers or unfounded asylum requests' from third countries ordinarily benefiting from the visa waiver. No current countries are said to be targeted at this stage, and the mechanism is only said to be a 'last resort'.

Upon notification by a Member State of an emergency influx, the Commission will consider whether to engage the suspension mechanism, taking account of the impact of the migration and the consequences of the suspension for external relations. Parliament must be informed of any 'implementing act'.

Read the official press release of the European Parliament.

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