Vote on Third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing EU external borders:
- extracts from the vote on the report Agustin DIAZ DE MERA GARCIA CONSUEGRA (EPP, ES)
Lieu: Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
End production: 12/09/2013 First transmission: 12/09/2013
The amended EU visa regulation deals with third countries that persist in requiring EU citizens to obtain visas, even though their own citizens are exempt from EU visa requirements. This mechanism, which was strengthened by MEPs in negotiations with the Council, should enable the EU to put more pressure on certain third countries to obey the visa reciprocity rule. The USA, for example, currently requires visas for EU citizens from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Poland, and Canada requires them for those from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. The visa regulation now also includes a “suspension mechanism” to allow the EU to reimpose visa requirements temporarily in emergencies. Visa waivers could be temporarily suspended "in emergency situation(s), as a last resort", in which a "substantial and sudden increase, over a six month period", in numbers of irregular migrants, unfounded asylum requests or rejected readmission applications had been detected, says the text. "The suspension mechanism does not target specific third countries. It would provide a general framework for the future, and could be triggered for any country whose nationals are eligible to travel visa-free to the EU. The amendments to the visa regulation aim to preserve the integrity of the visa liberalisation process and ensure that visa-free travel to the EU does not lead to abuses", Mr Díaz de Mera said. Member states facing an emergency situation would have to notify the European Commission, which would assess the possible need to suspend visa-free travel rules for nationals of a given third country. In doing so, it would have to take account of factors such as the number of member states affected, the overall impact of the increases on the migratory situation in the EU and the consequences of a suspension for the EU's external relations. If the Commission were to decide that action were needed, then it would suspend the visa waiver for six months. This would be done via an "implementing act", of which Parliament would have to be informed. Vote result was: 328 in favour, 257 against, 46 abstentions.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Strasbourg
||EP President Martin SCHULZ opens the vote on the report by Agustín Díaz de Mera (EPP, ES).
||SOUNDBITE (English) Tanja FAJON (S&D, SL), asks for a postponement of the vote, as the reciprocity mechanism inscribed in the legislation, she says, it's illegal: "Are we so naïve to accept this game and in exchange give to the Council a suspension mechanism which will seriously harm our policy to the western and Balkans and give away our prerogatives? By voting this report we are giving away Parliament's, meaning our citizens rights, for free, in a very important area like visa policy".
||SOUNDBITE (German) Daniel COHN-BENDIT (Greens-EFA, FR): "We as a Parliament must always act on the basis of our powers. We should not give away our powers of co-decision. What is to vote here today is different to what was adopted in Committee so I would ask to send the text back to the LIBE Committee".
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Agustin DIAZ DE MERA GARCIA CONSUEGRA (EPP, ES): "It is totally untrue that we are infringing on the rights given to the EP by the Lisbon Treaty". He explains that the delegating and implementing acts are only going to be used during the first 6 months derogation. For reciprocity and suspension, the Parliament will always have co-decision powers." He also says that it is not up to the MEPs but to the Court of Justice to determine if this legislation is illegal or not: "it is a highly political matter" he says.
||EP President launches the vote for the postponement or not of the vote on the report. The postponement is rejected by 326 votes to 286.
||Final vote on the report by DIAZ de MERA. Result: 328 in favour, 257 against, 46 abstentions.