European Parliament to Discuss US Visas for Croatia

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At the request of Croatian MEP Davor Škrlec, the visa issue with the United States will be on this week’s agenda of the European Parliament.

After a letter addressed to the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, in which Croatian Member of European Parliament Davor Škrlec warned against violation of the principle of reciprocity in terms of visas with the United States and Canada, the European Parliament has included this item on the agenda of this week’s plenary session in Strasbourg, reports Lider on December 13, 2016.

Even though it was legally obliged to introduce visas for citizens of the United States and Canada by 12 April 2016 under the principle of reciprocity, since these countries have not abolished visas for citizens of Croatia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus, the European Commission has continued to delay the process.

“I expect that this week’s debate in the European Parliament will encourage the European Commission to respond immediately and make a decision that will implement the principle of reciprocity and introduce visas for citizens of third countries which demand the same from member states of the European Union. That is the only way to maintain a consistent policy and restore the confidence of citizens in the European institutions”, said Škrlec.

“After Brexit and the referendum in Italy, we will have additional close elections in other EU member states which could permanently seal the fate of the European Union, and I believe that by insisting on the respect for common European rules, which apply equally to all citizens, we can provide solid arguments in favour of pro-European policies. If we do not stop further discrimination on the basis of the absence of the principle of visa reciprocity, I will initiate further steps at the European Parliament which will include action against the European Commission before the Court of the European Union. At the same time, I welcome the decision of Canada, which will by the end of 2017 abolish visas for citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, and I expect the same from the United States when it comes to Croatia”, concluded Škrlec.

While the possibility of the European Union actually introducing visas for the United States is very remote, it is possible that the pressure could result in American government changing its criteria and abolishing visas for Croatian citizens. However, given the fact that the incoming US administration led by President-elect Donald Trump is unlikely to make decisions which could increase the number of foreigners coming to the United States, it is almost certain that Croatian citizens will have to fill visa application forms for a while yet.


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