A nonbinding resolution passed Thursday by the European Parliament calls for the institution of visa requirements for American citizens traveling to Europe. The resolution is the latest salvo in a diplomatic conflict over US visa requirements for citizens of 5 European Union nations, including Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.
Claude Moraes, leader of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in the European Parliament, said in a New York Times interview:
“You’re talking about citizens from countries, like Poland, with a major diaspora. You’re really seeing frustration and anger, and without any timetable, this is becoming increasingly seen as second-class treatment.”
Despite the nonbinding nature of the resolution, the move firmly demands that the European Commission takes a strong stance towards Washington, amidst rising concern surrounding the foreign policy of the new Trump administration. The European Parliament went one step further to threaten court action against the Commission should it fail to hold its ground against the American administration.
“Only when the U.S. fully gets that the European Commission is going to act are we going to get any kind of timetable from the United States. At the moment, the U.S. just believes the commission is not going to act but stick with the pragmatic argument that doing so would create damage that’s just too great.”
“There’s no denying heightened concern about the current administration, but that’s more about uncertainty about who’s in charge and how the State Department is working.”
The Thursday vote allowed the Commission two months to take steps towards instituting the visa requirements, unless the US lifted its own requirements on the five EU member states.
EU officials in Brussels have resisted such measures, saying the economic cost would be too high, and that such an action would not likely yield the desired result for the five countries.
If the EU court in Luxembourg were to rule in favor of parliament on the matter, it could force the Commission to impose the visa requirements. This would almost surely lead to the Trump administration responding in kind, instituting visa requirements for European travelers.
The commission’s chief spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, called for “continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts” with the Trump administration, limiting expectations that the commission would impose the visa requirements within two months.