The European Union executive is considering whether to make U.S. and Canadian citizens apply for visas before travelling to the bloc in a move that could raise tensions as Brussels negotiates a free trade pact with Washington.
The European Commission will debate the issue, prompted by U.S. and Canadian refusals to waive their visa requirements for holders of some EU member states’ passports, at a meeting next Tuesday. That is just over a week before U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in Europe on a visit that will include discussions on trade.
“A political debate and decision is obviously needed on such an important issue. But there is a real risk that the EU would move towards visas for the two,” an EU source said.
Washington and Ottawa both demand visas before travelling for Romanians and Bulgarians, whose states joined the EU in 2007. The United States also excludes Croatians, Cypriots and Poles from a visa waiver scheme offered to other EU citizens.