Unfortunately it is not a typo.
In an escalating trade ‘row’ between the EU, USA, and Canada some in the EU Commission are toying with the idea of introducing Visa requirements for Americans and Canadians wishing to enter the EU.
The whining from the EU stems from the fact that the USA and Canada require visas for citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, both of whom are members of the EU. The EU’s complaint to the US and Canada is that all of their member nations should be treated similarly when it comes to travel requirements and thus Romanians and Bulgarians should not have to apply for visas if their fellow EU-ians don’t face the same requirements.
In addition to the mutual exclusion of Bulgarians and Romanians from the visa waiver by the US and Canada, the US also requires visas from citizens of Poland, Cyprus, and Croatia all of which are members of the EU.
Is this a serious proposal?
Yes, insomuch that it is being debated in the EU Commission and the decision to submit this proposal to the EU Parliament and Council could come later in the month.
What are the odds of success?
Slim to none. Such a radical policy change would require approval of the member states and it is widely expected that the member states would not vote in favor, knowing the potential economic impact their respective economies would face if all of a sudden it was harder for Americans and Canadians to travel to Europe. Recent statistics suggest that upward of 15 million Americans visited Europe in 2015. Putting visa requirements on this group will stress this figure going forward and cripple tourism in Europe.
Why is this a thing?
Well, it looks as though it’s being used as a bit of extortion. In parallel to these threats is the ongoing negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement which would theoretically boost economic activity between the EU, the USA, and the rest of the world if implemented. And wouldn’t you know, there is a series of high level meetings between heads of states coming in the next 2-3 weeks that seek to move the TTIP agreement closer to implementation.
In my humble opinion this is simply a weak-minded ploy by the EU to try and exert some kind of extortion to improve their position during the TTIP negotiations. Apparently the powers that be within the EU leadership did not finish near the top of their class when it comes to negotiation skills.