07 Jul 2017

The Transatlantic Dispute over Visas: The need for EU action in the face of US non-reciprocity, moving targets and the harvesting of EU citizens’ data

Marco Stefan

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This Policy Insight investigates the multiple policy, legal and inter-institutional ramifications of the dispute arising from the persisting lack of visa reciprocity between the EU and the US. The ever-stringent US requirements for member states’ admittance and stay in the Visa Waiver Programme discriminate against European passport holders on the basis of nationality and justify preventive policing through the harvesting of EU citizens’ personal data.

It is important that all EU institutions responsible for the implementation of EU common visa policy loyally cooperate in dealing with the current state of affairs in transatlantic visa non-reciprocity. Such an approach could offer a way out of the EU’s current inter-institutional dispute regarding the measures to take under a post-Lisbon regulatory framework. This would allow increasing the effectiveness and democratic accountability in EU-US cooperation on visas, and help address issues arising from US requests for personal information, which may be tantamount to the introduction of visa requirements and travel restrictions for EU citizens.

Marco Stefan is a Researcher within the Justice and Home Affairs section at CEPS, Brussels. This paper was prepared in the context of the SOURCE Network of Excellence, which is financed by the EU’s FP7 programme.