The European Parliament has directed the European Commission to impose visas on U.S. citizens traveling to Europe. The call was made amid a dispute over visa restriction on five European Union countries by the U.S. government.

EU Parliamentary resolution

Members of the European Parliament has asked the U.S. to grant equal visa-free access to citizens of five EU nations, including Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Croatia, and Cyprus, just as citizens of the other 23 European Union countries are currently enjoying. The EU has a long-standing rule that requires the same treatment of all member states.

US nationals are allowed to visit all EU countries without a visa under a visa waiver agreement.

The MEPPs approved the resolution on Thursday, March 2, 2017, ordering the EU Commission to apply the necessary legal framework within two months. But the resolution is not binding and on the Commission. Members of the parliament described the measure as reciprocal.

Reciprocity measures

If implemented, it would impose visa requirements on US citizens wanting to visit the EU member nations until full visa reciprocity is obtained. This new restriction if implemented may slow tourism and business travel for Eu Member States from the U.S., and the EU will stand to lose out. The European Commission has been consulting widely on possible ways of resolving the long-standing dispute.

Resolving the dispute

The European Commission has called on the US Homeland Security in a report published in December “to use all opportunities to explore the way forward and all necessary options to be taken at in resolving the dispute.”

US concerns

The US Homeland Security Department said the five US countries involved have failed to meet the requirements of US law on visa refusal, and therefore was ineligible to benefit from the visa waiver program.

The Department of Homeland Security also warned that temporary suspension of the waiver for US nationals would be counterproductive in achieving the reciprocal visa waiver program.

The EU has vowed to re-launch its effort “without delay” as soon as the Trump administration was fully in place and also said that the US Congress has an important part to play in resolving the dispute over the visa waiver program.