MEPs back emergency brake measures to combat security threats and unfounded asylum applications

Dec 15, 2016


Today the European Parliament, with the support of the ECR group, approved a new suspension mechanism for its visa policy. Consequently, visa requirements for non-EU nationals will be now reintroduced faster when EU countries face irregular migration surges or security risks.

The ECR Group considers the reached mechanism as a win-win outcome. The new mechanism will benefit the EU Member States, who now possess more efficient legal tools to suspend visa-free travel to the EU in situations when the visa system is being abused.

On the other hand, new legislation also benefits countries outside of EU. With the new safeguard in place, the EU can give visa-free travel to more countries. This is good news for Georgian and Ukrainian citizens who may in the near future enjoy smoother access to the European Union.

Under the new rules, third countries’ visa waiver deals with the EU may be suspended when country fails to cooperate with returns of migrants or when there is a substantial increase of unfounded asylum applications. Visa free travel can be also suspended when there is an increase in risks or imminent threats to public policy or internal security related to nationals of the third country concerned.

The Report was approved by 485 votes to 132 with 21 abstentions. The visa suspension mechanism will not apply to the UK or Ireland.