Thanks to more muscle-flexing from the Trump administration and the subsequent ostracizing of five EU nations, Americans hoping to travel to Europe this summer may need to apply for a visa in order to do so.
On March 5, 751 members of the European Parliament – the governing body of the EU – voted to end visa-free travel to Europe for US citizens, as punishment for America not fulfilling its reciprocal agreement to allow European Union citizens visa-free access to their country. The decision was made in response to the US government’s failure to grant the usual EU visa-free entry into the US to citizens of five European Union countries.
5 EU Nations Punished By Trump Regime
The European Union nations restricted by the latest power-play of the Trump administration are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania. Citizens of those countries must now apply for visas before traveling to the US. Previously, citizens of all 28 EU-member countries were free to enter America without the need of a visa. Reciprocally, Americans had been able to travel visa-free to all 28 EU countries.
The decision of the European Parliament is not final; it is now up to the EU’s executive, the European Commission to enforce a one-year suspension. They will assess the situation when they reconvene in June. In the meantime, EU representatives are in discussion with their US counterparts to find a quick solution to the problem. There is a deep concern that if the American visa restriction is imposed, president Trump will respond by issuing the same demands for all other EU nations.
Potential Damage To EU Economy
The need to apply for a visa to travel to a country will often result in a potential visitor choosing not to bother, and in that respect there is concern that an outright visa demand against the US will result in a substantial drop in American tourism and resulting revenue. 30 million US tourists visit Europe each year, generating $54billion in revenue. Additionally, visa requirements for US businesspeople will severely hamper the EU economy.
The US passport is currently the 4th most powerful in the world, with visa-free access to 174 countries, a total only bettered by Germany, with access to 177 countries, Sweden with 176, and Finland, France, Italy, Spain and the UK in joint third with access to 175 countries visa-free. If the EU upholds its decision in June, the US passport will lose visa-free access to 28 countries at a stroke, and will drop to 26th in the world with access to just 146 countries.
The UK could suffer a similar fate to the US when they finally act upon the result of their Brexit referendum, activate article 50 and leave the EU. If the European Union decides to play hardball with Great Britain, their passport will go from being one of the most powerful and desirable in the world to one that is weaker than the passport of Israel, Brunei and Andorra, to name but three. However, at least it will rank one spot higher than the US!