european-flag-zastava.jpg
Photograph: freeimages.com/Krzysztof (Kriss) Szkurlatowski

The European Union will consider next week whether to temporarily suspend the right of US citizens to visit the 28-country bloc without a visa, as some Europeans have not yet been granted visa-free access to the United States.

Europe is US travellers' main overseas destination, with nearly 12 million undertaking the trip in 2014, according to data from the US National Travel and Tourism Office. Currently, Americans can visit EU countries for up to three months without a visa.

Suspending that right could lead to tensions between the EU and US, just as they are working to finalize a landmark free trade deal.

"Our goal remains full reciprocal visa waiver with our strategic partners, and we are working constructively with them on this," European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told journalists in Brussels on Tuesday.

But the clock is quickly ticking down to an April 12 deadline on which the EU's executive will be obliged to recommend suspending for one year US nationals' visa-free access if EU citizens still do not get the same treatment on the other side of the Atlantic.

The US has yet to grant visa-free access to travellers from the EU countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania - mainly because their citizens too often have their US visa requests rejected, according to a commission report from November.

The reasons for the visa rejections were not listed.

The commission will discuss how to proceed on Tuesday. If it recommends a suspension of the US visa waiver, this would only enter into force after four months, giving EU member states and the European Parliament time to object if they wish.

Australia, Barbados, Brunei, Canada and Japan were also flagged in the November report as having presented visa reciprocity problems.

Latest news

White House bars major news outlets from press briefing

The New York Times, CNN and Politico were among the organizations blocked from Friday's so-called gaggle, or informal briefing, according to reporters from those outlets. Representatives of the Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the meeting in a show of solidarity, according to the Times.

Report: German intelligence spied on BBC, other foreign journalists

Germany's intelligence agency monitored foreign journalists at the BBC, the New York Times and other news organizations from 1999 onwards across several countries, according to a Friday report from Der Spiegel magazine.

Classroom for Islamic religious education opened in Split

A classroom for Islamic religious education, whose equipment was financially assisted by city and county authorities, was opened in the coastal city of Split on Friday.

Ministry say no licences for export of military goods to Saudi Arabia issued in 2016

The Economy, Enterprise and Crafts Ministry on Friday issued a statement regarding media reports about export licences for military goods, stressing that in 2016 it did not issue any licences for the export of military goods to Saudi Arabia.

Croatia for preserving Bosnia's stability

Croatia on Friday supported the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), calling on its authorities to adopt decisions in institutions, after a request by BiH Presidency Bosniak member Bakir Izetbegovic to review a ruling which acquitted Serbia of genocide.

Mexico is not a migrant "waiting room" for US, interior minister says

Mexico will not accept undocumented immigrants from other countries whom the United States plans to deport, Mexico's interior minister said Friday.

Right-wing populist Wilders declines first Dutch election debate

Candidates from nine Dutch parties answered questions from journalists Friday at the first national radio debate of the election campaign, but the leading candidate

Bosnian Croat reps insist on channel airing programmes in Croatian

Being one of the constituent peoples, the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are entitled to a broadcaster that will air programmes in their native language, HNS BiH official Ivan Vukoja said at a news conference in Mostar on Friday.

Same-sex couples in Slovenia can marry

A Slovenian law allowing same-sex couples to marry went into force on Friday and the first civil registrar ceremony, between two women, is to take place in Maribor on Saturday, the town's Vecer daily said.

Moody's changes Agrokor's outlook to negative

The Moody's rating agency on Friday changed its outlook for the Agrokor food retailer from stable to negative, affirming its rating of B3.

Trump says he represents America, 'not the globe'

US President Donald Trump said Friday his aim is to serve the United States and not the rest of the world, doubling down on his "America First" message in wide-ranging remarks to a conservative conference.

Croat member of Bosnia's state presidency says crisis won't escalate

The Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's collective State Presidency, Dragan Covic, said on Friday that the crisis caused by the unilateral submission of a request for a review of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) genocide ruling from 2007 against Serbia would not escalate into an armed conflict.