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Procedure : 2014/2586(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0194/2014

Texts tabled :

B7-0194/2014

Debates :

PV 27/02/2014 - 6
CRE 27/02/2014 - 6

Votes :

PV 27/02/2014 - 10.14

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2014)0177

Texts adopted
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Thursday, 27 February 2014 - Strasbourg Final edition
Future of EU visa policy
P7_TA(2014)0177B7-0194/2014

European Parliament resolution of 27 February 2014 on the future of EU visa policy (2014/2586(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), in particular Article 77 thereof,

–  having regard to the Commission communication entitled ‘Implementation and development of the common visa policy to spur growth in the EU’ (COM(2012)0649),

–  having regard to the Commission report on the functioning of Local Schengen Cooperation during the first two years of implementation of the Visa Code (COM(2012)0648),

–  having regard to the Commission’s Seventh report on certain third countries’ maintenance of visa requirements in breach of the principle of reciprocity (COM(2012)0681),

–  having regard to the recent revisions(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement(2) ,

–  having regard to the recent visa facilitation agreements with Georgia(3) , Ukraine(4) , Moldova(5) , Cape Verde(6) , Armenia(7) and Azerbaijan(8) ,

–  having regard to the question to the Commission on the future of EU visa policy (O‑000028/2014 – B7‑0108/2014),

–  having regard to Rules 115(5) and 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the common visa policy constitutes a necessary corollary to the lifting of internal border controls within the Schengen area;

B.  whereas the main elements of the common visa policy are: the common lists of countries whose citizens are subject to the visa requirement and those whose citizens are exempt from it, as annexed to Regulation (EC) No 539/2001, the common rules on the issuing of visas as contained in the Visa Code, the uniform format for visas, the exchange of information through the Visa Information System, and a series of international agreements with third countries on visa exemption and facilitation;

C.  whereas the Treaty of Lisbon provides for the use of the ordinary legislative procedure for all aspects of the common visa policy, and for Parliament’s consent for all international agreements on the matter;

D.  whereas it is important to initiate reflection and interinstitutional discussion on the future of the common EU visa policy, in particular regarding steps towards further harmonisation of visa procedures, including common rules on the issuing of visas;

General visa policy and review of the Visa Code

1.  Welcomes the progress made in the field of the visa acquis , but also calls on the Commission and Member States to improve the implementation of the current visa acquis ; calls, especially, for enhanced local Schengen cooperation in order to improve the implementation of the Visa Code in the short term;

2.  Believes that in the future steps should be taken towards further harmonisation of visa procedures, including truly common rules on the issuing of visas;

3.  Considers that in many third countries the current consular coverage is clearly not satisfactory;

4.  Considers that common visa application centres have proven to be a useful tool which could in the future become standard;

5.  Regrets the fact that the Commission has not presented a study on the possibility of establishing ‘a common European issuing mechanism for short term visas’, including an examination of ‘to what degree an assessment of individual risk could supplement the presumption of risk associated with the applicant’s nationality’, as it was invited to do in the Stockholm Programme (point 5.2);

6.  Considers that travel by bona fide and frequent travellers should be further facilitated, in particular through more frequent use of multiple-entry visas with a longer duration;

7.  Calls on the Member States to make use of the current provisions of the Visa Code and the Schengen Borders Code allowing the issuing of humanitarian visas, and to facilitate the provision of temporary shelter for human rights defenders at risk in third countries;

8.  Looks forward to the expected proposal for a review of the Visa Code, but deplores the fact that its adoption has been repeatedly postponed by the Commission;

9.  Regrets the fact that the overall evaluation of the Visa Code has still not been presented by the Commission; deplores the Commission’s intention to present this evaluation together with the proposal for a review of the Visa Code; considers that it would be more appropriate if the Commission presented the evaluation report first and thus allowed the institutions to have a discussion based on it;

Visa facilitation

10.  Calls for the conclusion of further visa facilitation agreements, where appropriate, and for the monitoring and improvement of those already in existence;

11.  Calls for a systematic evaluation of existing visa facilitation agreements in order to assess whether they achieve their intended objective;

Regulation (EC) No 539/2001

12.  Welcomes the recent updates of the lists of third countries whose nationals are or are not subject to a visa requirement, as contained in Regulation (EC) No 539/2001, and in particular the additional exemptions from the visa requirement; recalls the importance of visa-free travel for third countries and in particular their civil societies, but also for the EU’s own interests;

13.  In this context, is of the opinion that a visa-free agreement between the EU and Ukraine is a way to respond to the calls of Ukrainian civil society and the students who demonstrated over the last few days; points out that such an agreement would step up exchanges and people-to-people contacts between the civil societies, thus increasing mutual understanding, and would benefit economic exchanges; calls on the Commission to present a proposal in order to put Ukraine on the list of third countries whose nationals are not subject to a visa requirement; also calls on the Member States to fully implement the current visa facilitation agreement in order to facilitate access to the EU, in particular for students and scientists;

14.  Welcomes the updating of the visa exemption criteria to include considerations of fundamental rights but also economic benefits, in particular in terms of tourism and foreign trade, and their inclusion in an article of the regulation;

15.  Stresses that further visa liberalisation requires more knowledge about the application of the current visa waivers, including through the EU Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (EU-ESTA); calls on the Council and the Commission to ensure that Parliament is more fully informed regarding the situation of third countries under discussion, so as to allow proper democratic scrutiny;

16.  Invites the Commission to reflect on how, in the future, changes to the annexes to the regulation and bilateral visa waiver agreements, where considered necessary, could be ensured in parallel, so as to avoid the risk that a modification of the annexes is not followed immediately by the necessary visa waiver agreement;

17.  Takes note of the agreement on the suspension mechanism; expects the Member States to trigger this mechanism in good faith and only as a last resort in an emergency situation, where an urgent response is needed in order to resolve the difficulties faced by the Union as a whole, and when the relevant criteria are fulfilled;

18.  Considers that full visa reciprocity is an objective which the Union should pursue in a proactive manner in its relations with third countries, thus helping to improve the credibility and consistency of the Union’s external policy at international level;

19.  Calls for a debate on the link between further visa liberalisation and the calls being made by certain Member States for increased security measures and stricter border controls for travellers exempt from the visa requirement;

Visa Information System (VIS)

20.  Calls on eu-LISA to present the expected VIS evaluation report as soon as possible;

Involvement of the European Parliament

21.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to improve the flow of information to Parliament as regards negotiations for international agreements in the visa field, in accordance with Article 218(10) TFEU and the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission;

22.  Announces its intention to set up a contact group on visa policy within the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs; invites the Council Presidency and the Member States, along with the Commission, to participate in the meetings of this contact group;

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23.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) Regulation (EU) No 1091/2010 (OJ L 329, 14.12.2010, p. 1); Regulation (EU) No 1211/2010 (OJ L 339, 22.12.2010, p. 6); Regulation (EU) No 1289/2013 (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 74); COM(2012)0650; COM(2013)0853.
(2) OJ L 81, 21.3.2001, p. 1.
(3) Council Decision 2011/117/EU (OJ L 52, 25.2.2011, p. 33).
(4) Council Decision 2013/297/EU (OJ L 168, 20.6.2013, p. 10).
(5) Council Decision 2013/296/EU (OJ L 168, 20.6.2013, p. 1).
(6) Council Decision 2013/521/EU (OJ L 282, 24.10.2013, p. 1).
(7) Council Decision 2013/628/EU (OJ L 289, 31.10.2013, p. 1).
(8) COM(2013)0742.

Last updated: 30 May 2017Legal notice