pondělí 11. dubna 2016

EU visas for US, Canada citizens?

     Few days ago, almost two thirds of voters in a country which lost 193 of its people in the tragedy of MH17 flight voted in favour of Russia - the country most likely responsible for the shoot down of that plane. The Dutch referendum resulted in refusal of EU-Ukraine agreement, the simplest action to show support for Ukraine´s EU-oriented policy, and shown the world how desperate the situation in Europe is: Europeans are not willing to identify themselves with fundamental principles of European Union project and they have yielded to temptation of an isolationism vision - the idea that closing of the old national borders will ensure the security and prosperity. Throughout the history, this vision has never worked. When talking about wrong European approach towards Ukraine, I have an electorate on my mind - due to my opinion, voters are causing damage to the old continent by supporting Russian policy. But European politicians are doing the same in other areas...

     Mina Andreeva, a spokesperson for the European Commission said that:

"The objective here is to achieve full visa waiver reciprocity for citizens of all member states and this is a priority for the European Union."

So what does this mean? It means that European Union is considering introducing visas for US and Canadian citizens even for a short stay in EU. Few days after a hard hit to Ukraine, the country EU is fighting for with Russia, EU is also considering to hit its closest and historical allies. For an outer observer, it must look like a theatre of the absurd.

    The problem is that visa policy of the 28-nation bloc is following one-for-all-all-for-one approach. As travellers from Poland, Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania need visas to visit USA and Romanians and Bulgarians need visas also to visit Canada, EU took off to fight. But while the unified visa policy is a necessary tool for the Schengen area without internal borders, it makes little sense for EU as a whole. On October last year, A session of the European Council for Justice and Home Affairs postponed the decision on accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area. In other words, the European union itself understands that these countries need to do some work prior achieving the same level as majority of other member countries. Therefore, is it really fair to penalize United States or Canada for the same view? I don´t think so. Similar situation is with Croatia and Cyprus. Both countries are working on the accession, but are not members yet.

US passport probably won´t be enough to enter the EU

    Therefore, the only country for which the EU should really fight is Poland which is Schengen area member since December 2007. On the other hand, US visa policy is pretty clear and well defined. If Poland doesn´t meet US requirements, we can´t be surprised that visas will be required for Polish to enter the United States. I admit that in this case, EU is in complicated situation, it should follow its own policy in the situation which is required by a strict interpretation of its own rules but which is hardly understandable by a common sense. Taking present global situation into account, it is clear that the damage caused if this solution will really go through will be done primarily on EU itself. It will only weaken our position as it will weaken our relationship with our most important allies. During the ongoing hybrid war with Russia and during the entrance of new super-powers into global stage, this is incredibly stupid. I´m not calling on complete abandonment of our rules, I´m calling to making them based on common sense. In this particular case (Polish one), I want EU officials to use other diplomatic means (including this issue in TTIP negotiations, presenting this issue during bilateral meetings of officials from all Schengen countries with their US counterparts etc.). Europe wants to be a significant (at least) local power so it should start to act like one. We should realize what priorities we have and make them guide for our common foreign policy. By not doing so, we are only hurting ourselves, undermining our own position in this dangerous new world.

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