EU Proposes Tougher Visa Suspension Rules To Address Security Concerns

EU Proposes Tougher Visa Suspension Rules To Address Security Concerns

The European Commission has proposed sharpening its visa suspension rules to address the “abuse” of visa-free travel in Europe.

The revised rules would give the EU more flexibility to temporarily suspend its visa-free travel schemes, including when it considers that third countries' policies could lead to increased migrant arrivals to the EU.

Speaking on Wednesday, European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas said that the EU's visa-free travel scheme brings “huge benefits”, but that the bloc also needs to ensure its visa policy framework is not “misused” and that it has “the power to act when it is.”

The EU is concerned that a number of the sixty nations with visa-free access to the European Union might serve as transit points for irregular migrants attempting to enter the 27-country bloc.

The announcement coincided with the bloc's struggle to cope with a significant surge in irregular arrivals, especially in Mediterranean nations like Italy and Greece.

Margaritis Schinas also unveiled an “action plan” to tackle the increasing number of irregular migrants making the journey to Europe via the Eastern Mediterranean route, including reinforced border management and strengthened cooperation with countries of transit and origin.

The tightened visa suspension rules also aim to tackle so-called “investor citizenship” schemes offered by third countries as a means of circumventing the EU's visa policy.

The proposal of the Commission to revise the Visa Suspension Mechanism will be negotiated by the European Parliament and the Council.

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