The European Commission is considering requiring visas from U.S. and Canadian passport-holders who are traveling to the European Union.
The move would require citizens to apply for visas to travel freely within the Schengen area, a zone that includes 26 of the 28 EU member states, reported Reuters. The United Kingdom and Ireland have opt-out clauses that exclude them from the common visa system.
The European Commission has less than a week to decide whether to require visas from countries, such as the United States, that require visas for entry from one or more EU countries. The U.S. waiver program requires citizens of certain EU countries — Poland, Cyprus, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania — to obtain visas in order to enter the country. Citizens of 38 other countries, such as Germany, France and Italy, can travel to the country without a visa for up to 90 days.
“A political debate and decision is obviously needed on such an important issue,” an EU source told Reuters. “But there is a real risk that the EU would move towards visas for the two (Americans and Canadians).”
Both leading Republicans in the 2016 election have criticized the U.S. visa waiver program, saying it poses a national security threat because terrorists with EU passports could use the program to gain entry into the country.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who has proposed building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico as well as banning all Muslims from entering the country, told Fox Business he would end the visa waiver program.
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