The European Union is giving itself a bit more time before possibly implementing new visa requirements for Canadians travelling to parts of the EU.
On Tuesday morning, the European Commission — the EU’s executive body — issued a release regarding so-called “visa reciprocity” with Canada, the U.S. and Brunei, explaining that the European Parliament and Council must “urgently launch discussions and to take a position on the most appropriate way forward” no later than July 12, 2016.
In spite of the fact that Canadian travelers can enter any EU nation without a visa, Canada still requires citizens of some EU member states (Romania, Bulgaria the Czech Republic) to obtain one before crossing our borders.
The EU considers waiver reciprocity a principle of its common visa policy. Under its regulations, countries like Canada are given 24 months to correct non-reciprocity after they’ve been notified that there’s an issue. If they don’t, “then this can be cause for suspending the visa waiver for citizens” for a period of 12 months, the EU release explained.
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“Any such decision must take into account the consequences of the suspension of the visa waiver for the external relations of the EU and its Member States,” the release reads. “The Commission has an obligation to react once the 24 month period expires. In the case of the U.S., Canada and Brunei, that deadline, set by the EU legislator, has been reached today, 12 April 2016.”
The decision to push the deadline for concrete action three months down the road gives Citizenship and Immigration Canada a bit more time to make changes to its visa policy for Romanians, Bulgarians and citizens of the Czech Republic. The department does not appear to be in any rush, however.
Citizenship and Immigration spokesperson Jennifer Bourque told Global News in an email last week that “Canada’s visa policy is not based on reciprocity. Rather, Canada must be satisfied that countries meet its criteria for a visa exemption.”
Bourque added that “Canada remains committed to extending visa-free travel to all Europeans as soon as possible.”