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Tit for Tat
EU Overreach on Visas

Brussels is bandying about a particularly boneheaded move. The New York Times:

The European Union is stepping up pressure on the United States to add more European countries to the list of those whose citizens can travel across the Atlantic without a visa, holding out the threat of requiring Americans to get visas for trips to Europe if Washington does not agree.

The European Commission is expected to consider on Tuesday whether to change the visa requirements for Americans if their government does not agree to include additional European Union member states — Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania — on the list of those entitled to visa-free travel.

This is the kind of question that the EU would be wise to drop: it is more likely that the U.S. would impose visa restrictions on countries like France and Belgium than that it would lift restrictions on Bulgaria and Romania. More to the point, requiring U.S. citizens to get visas for Europe would be a major blow to the tourism industry. People don’t like hassles. And does the EU really want to discourage U.S. companies from investing there?

In terms of easing visa restrictions for countries like Poland, we should be looking for some creative compromises. Illegal immigration is a serious problem in the United States, and countries that are significantly poorer than we are, and that have a history of emigration, pose larger than normal risks. But the most urgent concerns the U.S. has now about visas in Europe are less about immigration than about security. Thinking about ways to improve security coordination (and upgrade the effectiveness of security services and policing in countries that have significant internal problems) is important if we are to preserve easy and free transatlantic travel.

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  • gabrielsyme

    The best solution here would be to authorize visa-free travel for the states mentioned, none of which pose a security risk while revoking visa-free travel for Germany, Belgium, Sweden and perhaps France, all of which have large Islamist populations who have demonstrated a predisposition to violence and terrorism. At least then we’d be punishing the right people, and especially those nations in Europe that are causing the Islamist security crisis in Europe to deepen.

  • Angel Martin

    Visa or not, doesn’t matter to me. I’d have to get a passport first…

  • I wonder if the author of this post is familiar with the extraordinary hassle the US makes visitors go through to enter the country?

    Even people from countries, like my own (the Netherlands) that enjoy the privilege of “visa-free” travel need to spend a lot of time and effort filling out forms, answering questions, fingerprinting, photographing, etc. be allowed to enter the US, both beforehand and at the border. For the American visiting the other way, the experience is incomparably smoother.

    So if you want to lecture the EU for trying to make travel easier for its citizens, fine — but realize those negative effects about tourism and business you’re writing about apply the other way as well.

    • Boritz

      These hassles are mostly waived on the U.S. southern border.

  • Simpatica

    Stupid, Americans are already canceling Europe travel because of terrorist dangers and now they want to increase the hassle of Europe travel. politicians are truly STUPID. So what is new?

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