Apostolos\’ Daily Plate

Are we Europeans serious?

Posted in Πολιτικά by asyropoulos on 9 Ιουλίου, 2008

The US visa waiver program (VWP) «enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.» Currently, not all EU countries are part of the VWP. Thus, there are many citizens of EU member states that need to apply for a visa in order to travel to the USA. Naturally, not all applications are accepted. On the other hand, U.S. citizens with a valid passport can enter and can stay in any EU country without a visa for tourism or business up to 90 days. Of course it does not matter whether a U.S. citizen has a criminal record, while this does matter for any citizens of a European country. In particular, citizens of VWP countries need to complete a written I-94W form providing basic biographical, travel, and eligibility information while en-route to the U.S.A. This document is checked by U.S. authorities that may deny entry to U.S.A. to certain travelers. In a nutshell, U.S. citizens can freely travel to Europe while European citizens do not travel freely.

As of January 12, 2009, all VWP travelers will be required to obtain an electronic travel authorization prior to
boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP
. In other words, VWP travelers will have to apply for an electronic visa. The real question is: What on Earth is the EU commission planning to do anout this?

Citizens of member states outside the VWP need to pay a nonrefundable fee in order to apply for a visa. However, for reasons of reciprocity « [T]he United States strives to eliminate visa issuance fees whenever possible; however, when a foreign government imposes such fees on U.S. citizens for certain types of visas, the United States will impose a «reciprocal» fee to nationals of that country for similar-type of visas». But as noted all U.S. citizens are free to travel to any EU country. Clearly, the word reciprocity has got a new meaning! Again: What on Earth is the EU commission planning to do about this?

The U.S. Administration does everything possible to protect the interests of U.S. citizens and whether we like it or not, it is their right to impose any kind of restriction to foreigners willing to visit their country. But on the other hand, the EU must protect the rights of European citizens.

Europe should not behave as if it is some US protectorate.

PS Apparently, it seems that some EU officials have similar opinions to those expressed here.  In particular, the EU does not note progress on full visa reciprocity with the U.S.A.

6 Σχόλια

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  1. takisz said, on 13 Ιουλίου, 2008 at 7:46 μμ

    Europe does not behave as if it were a US protectorate, although many Europeans have a hard time suppressing their inferiority complex. The idea of European countries demanding VISAs from US citizens as a ‘punishment’ or ‘retaliation’ cannot be a serious argument on a diplomatic level. Different countries have different concerns and issues, and should form their foreign policy according to them.

    Και νομίζω ότι η απάντηση στον τίτλο του άρθρου είναι ότι εμείς, ως Ευρωπαίοι, είμαστε αρκετά σοβαροί για να μην συμπεριφερόμαστε σα μικρά πεισμωμένα παιδιά.

  2. asyropoulos said, on 14 Ιουλίου, 2008 at 6:49 πμ

    To ask a visa is not a form of punishment or an act of retaliation. The magic work is reciprocity. And if you do not understand what reciprocity is, please check out the plethora of articles like the following one:

    Canadian reciprocity and visa waiver rules with European Union

    What is really annoying is that «Greeks» and other EU «nationals» do not feel Europeans and most importantly they do not act as such.

  3. takisz said, on 16 Ιουλίου, 2008 at 12:56 πμ

    I am afraid that you give a new dimension to the word ‘reciprocity’, which is normally defined as the practice of granting privileges between countries for mutual benefit. Asking for VISA from the citizens of a country because the given country requires VISA from your citizens is not reciprocity since there is no mutual benefit. It is rather some kind of odd retaliation. On the other hand, waiving visas after an agreement has been made by two countries is reciprocity. Read the article you cite yourself.

  4. asyropoulos said, on 16 Ιουλίου, 2008 at 7:26 πμ

    I have clearly expressed my opinion. Unless the U.S. Administration will not waive the visa requirement for all European citizens, the EU must impose a visa to U.S. citizens willing to visit Europe, And what is reciprocity is not a philosophical issue but a practical one. The real problem is that U.S. authorities think that Europeans are savagers. As an example of this attitude, please read the
    greetings message of Consul General of the U.S. Embassy in Prague (I am sure the Czechs know exactly what they should do and they need no advise from any overseas nanny).

  5. Amerikanaki said, on 28 Ιουλίου, 2008 at 10:47 πμ

    Again, trixes baby. A few diplomats will be inconvenienced. Wow!! big deal. The rest of the wealthy Americans will still not need a visa and won’t. Once Greeks stop with this nonsensical «EDO ELLADA» attitude, maybe we’ll take them serious as Europeans. Remember, in Europe, we speak ENGLISH and not a dead language like Greek spoken by a few Greeks and Cypriots. Cooperate to graduate and maybe Europe will accept you. For now, Greece is like the cleaning lady of Europe…

  6. asyropoulos said, on 28 Ιουλίου, 2008 at 11:32 πμ

    It is obvious that you hate Greece and possibly Cyprus. If you are brave enough and still have a Greek passport just throw it away and leave us alone! And by the way, in Europe we do speak French, German, Spanish. Italian, English and some of us speak Greek. Polyglossia is considered important by Europeans,


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