MEPs call on the European Commission to take the measures foreseen in EU legislation to guarantee full visa reciprocity between the EU and the US.
“The discrimination that Bulgarians, Croatians, Cypriots and Romanians experience when travelling to the US is unacceptable. Respecting the fundamental principle of solidarity among EU members, we call on the Commission to act as established in European legislation and table a proposal to suspend the visa waiver for US nationals. It will then be up to the Parliament and the Council to assess the political consequences of this move”, said Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur.
🛂 @JFLopezAguilar: La @EU_Commission, como guardiana de los tratados, tiene que cumplir con su obligación legal de suspensión temporal de exención de #visados con terceros, incluido Estados Unidos
With 376 votes to 269 and 43 abstentions, the Chamber adopted on Thursday a resolution urging the Commission to present a legal act suspending the visa waiver for US nationals for twelve months, as established in the so-called reciprocity mechanism.
Bulgarian, Croatian, Cypriot and Romanian nationals are still required to hold a visa to enter the US, while all other EU citizens are exempt from that requirement for short-stays (up to 90 days in any 180-day period), as are US nationals when they visit the European Union. According to EU legislation, if a third country does not lift visa requirements within 24 months of being formally notified of a situation of non-reciprocity, the EU Commission must adopt a legal act suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months. Both the European Parliament and Council could object to such an act (Article 290(2) of the Treaty). The situation of non-reciprocity affecting Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania was formally raised on 12 April 2014 (at the time, Poland was also affected, but since last year Polish citizens can travel to the US visa-free), so the deadline for the Commission to act expired on 12 April 2016. Parliament already asked the Commission to comply with the rules in a plenary resolution adopted in March 2017.
(Image below: MEP Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee and rapporteur, archive).
Croatianpolice clarified the situation blaming circulation of false information that the authorities would open its borders letting in hundreds of illegal migrants and refugees gathering at crossings in Serbia and Bosnia, hoping to enter the EU via Croatia.
Meanwhile border crossing Maljevac between #Bosnia and #Croatia is now closed after group of migrants broke trough Police cordon from Bosnian side of the border. The group has been camping the whole night at the crossing. pic.twitter.com/50BSyx9kuv
Some 400+ migrants gathered this week on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border with Croatia, with a similar number accumulating on Serbian border with Croatia, local media reported.
Croatian police continues to announce that misinformation had been spread that the EU state would open its borders, however it has no effect on waiting crowds.
“Among the migrant populations on the territory of Bosnia and Serbia, false information is spreading that the Republic of Croatia will allow their entry into its territory as well as further passage to the countries of Western Europe,” a police statement said.
Local police and members of Bosnia’s border units were deployed to the Maljevacborder crossing in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, where hundreds illegal migrants attempted to enter Croatia. At present no major incidents or escalation reported, but migrants continue to camp, awaiting for their chance, and small groups have already attempted to break through this morning.
There is a general public concern about the current developments in view of accumulating crowds of illegal migrants. An opinion prevails that without the EU assistance Croatian border control units will not be able to respond to the scale of the challenge.
For those who want and advocate for illegal immigration, just take a good look at what has happened to Europe over the last 5 years. A total mess! They only wish they had that decision to make over again.
A former Croat army general, Slobodan Praljak, has died after taking poison demonstratively obstructing the International Crime Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) verdict, the Croatian news agency Hina said quoting a source in Praljak’s entourage.
“General Slobodan Praljak has died in hospital in The Hague after taking poison in the courtroom as the ICTY upheld a 20-year prison term,” Hina said.
Here's the video of the stunned UN war crimes court not knowing how to react when Bosnian Croat leader Slobodan Praljak drank poison, moments after his 20-year sentence was upheld. pic.twitter.com/fkep0uZ8FA
While hearing the sentence, Praljak stood up and said: “Judges, Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal! I reject your sentence with contempt!” after these words he drank some liquid. His lawyer said it was poison.
On Thursday, November 30, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who returned to Zagreb having cut short a trip to Iceland, spoke of Praljak as ”a man who preferred to give his life, rather than to live, having been convicted of crimes he firmly believed he had not committed. His act struck deeply at the heart of the Croatian people and left the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia with the weight of eternal doubt about the accomplishment of its tasks”.
The EU Commission is legally obliged to take measures temporarily reintroducing visa requirements for US citizens, given that Washington still does not grant visa-free access to nationals of five EU countries. In a resolution approved on Thursday, MEPs urge the Commission to adopt the necessary legal measures “within two months”.
The text prepared by the Civil Liberties Committee was adopted by a show of hands.
Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still cannot enter US territory without a visa, while US citizens can travel to all EU countries visa-free.
According to the visa reciprocity mechanism, if a third country does not lift its visa requirements within 24 months of being notified of non-reciprocity, the EU Commission must adopt a delegated act – to which both Parliament and the Council may object – suspending the visa waiver for its nationals for 12 months.
Following a notification of non-reciprocity on 12 April 2014, the Commission should have acted before 12 April 2016 but it has yet to take any legal measure. Canada also imposes visa requirements on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens, but it has announced that they will be lifted on 1 December 2017.
EU laments lack of progress in US visa talks: BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union says little progress has been made… https://t.co/sNXv3KOeKh