Brussels, 5 November 2010
The European Commission adopts its sixth report on visa reciprocity with third countries
The European Commission has adopted its sixth report on certain third countries' maintenance of visa requirements in breach of the principle of reciprocity. The report shows that progress towards full reciprocity has been achieved and only a very limited number of "non-reciprocity" cases remain.
"The new report shows that further progress towards ensuring visa-free travel for all our citizens to third countries on our positive list has been achieved" said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs. She added: "Two visa waiver agreements will very soon be signed with Brazil. Some steps towards the restoration of visa-free travel for Czech citizens wishing to visit Canada have also been made. Regarding the few cases of non-reciprocity that continue to exist, the dialogue must continue in order to achieve full reciprocity with the third countries concerned (Canada and the US) as soon as possible".
The sixth report takes stock of steps taken to achieve reciprocity since the last report in October 2009. The main elements can be summarised as follows:
Not all citizens from third countries must have a visa in order to travel to the Schengen area. The EU has a common list of countries whose citizens must have a visa (‘the negative list’) and a list of countries whose citizens are exempt from that requirement (‘the positive list’) (see Council Regulation (EC) 539/2001).
It is therefore logical that, in the spirit of solidarity, the EU also seeks that third countries on the positive list grant visa waiver to all EU citizens and treat all Member States in the same way. For this reason, a visa reciprocity mechanism has been set up (through Council Regulation (EC) N° 851/2005)
If a country on the "positive list" introduces a visa requirement for one or more EU Member States, the Member State(s) concerned must notify the Commission which takes steps with the authorities of the third country to restore visa-free travel and reports to the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission can also propose to the Council retaliatory measures vis-à-vis the third country in question.
The Commission has already issued several general reports regarding the implementation of the visa reciprocity mechanism and one ad-hoc report on the re-introduction of a visa requirement by Canada for Czech nationals. This ad-hoc report and the previous general report were adopted on 19 October 2009.
For more information
Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs:
Homepage DG Home Affairs: