European Union takes step closer to allowing Ukrainians visa-free entry

Voting session

Voting session

Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still cannot enter U.S. territory without a visa, while USA citizens can travel to all European Union countries visa-free. While E.U. officials told Reuters that talks are ongoing, under the hostile right-wing Trump administration visa reciprocity seems extremely unlikely to happen.

The European Parliament will vote on legislative resolution on the abolition of visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens on April 5.

Bulgaria and Romania, the European Parliament is leaning on its executive body, the European Commission, to enact a year-long suspension of visa-free travel for United States citizens. The rules set a two-year warning period before action is taken - and because the initial warning to the US went out in April 2014, it expired last year.

The Commission is expected to adopt the necessary legal measures within two months.

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Eduardo Santander, executive director of the European Travel Commission said in a joint letter with the Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism sent to Parliament members, "We fully understand and respect the visa waiver reciprocity mechanism embedded in European legislation to ensure that all nationals of Member States part of Schengen can benefit on equal terms from exemption of visa requirement".

Negotiators from EU member countries and the European Parliament reached a deal late Tuesday to allow Ukrainians who have biometric passports to enter the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Relations between the USA and other countries have already been markedly chilled since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who in only six weeks has lashed out at Mexico, alienated China, and dismissed the Australian prime minister.

Australia, Brunei and Japan have since lifted their visa requirements for all European Union citizens and Canada will do so in December this year.

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