Welcome to the European Parliament Office in Washington DC
This is the website of the European Parliament's Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress. Our presence here is intended to strengthen cooperation between legislators in the U.S. and the European Union and to provide information to the public in the United States. Americans and Europeans together constitute the leading force in the world economy and, over the last 60 years, we have cooperated closely to enhance the cause of peace, freedom and human rights. Together we also face contemporary challenges most notably the threat of terrorism and the need to increase economic growth while protecting our environment. This website is intended as a window on the European Parliament to all those in the United States who are concerned with developments as legislators, officials, civil society, business, trade unions, reporters and all those studying the history and institutions of the European Union at school.
The United States Visa Waiver Program (VWP) has allowed millions of citizens of European and other countries to travel to the US, and to remain there for as long as 90 days without requiring a visa, provided that they meet certain requirements. EU ambassadors recently called it "an essential tool in transatlantic relations". A new publication by Parliament's research service looks at changes to the programme.
The Trade in Service Agreement (TiSA) should seek to open markets and cut red tape for small firms, Parliament says in its draft recommendations to the European Commission, which negotiates for the EU. Parliament's draft position – to be voted on Wednesday – sees opportunities in transport and telecoms sectors but says EU public services and audiovisual services should be excluded. The US is the EU's top trade partner in services. Each exports over $200bn worth of services to the other annually, according to Eurostat.
The EU's first major overhaul of data protection law in 20 years will strengthen individuals' rights to give or withdraw consent to use their personal data. Heavy fines could be imposed on companies that fall foul of the law.
The European Parliament has broadly welcomed proposals to strengthen the EU's borders in the face of elevated humanitarian and security concerns. A new "European Border and Coast Guard" would mean a new era of shared border management. The European Commission also wants everyone entering or exiting the EU's internal border-free area to be checked against security databases, including EU citizens.