Visa waiver suspension mechanism

The main objective is to strengthen the suspension mechanism by making it easier for member states



Council ready to start negotiations with Parliament

On 20 May 2016, the Council agreed its negotiating position on the proposed regulation to revise the visa liberalisation agreements. On the basis of this mandate, the Netherlands presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament as soon as the latter has adopted its position.

“Visa liberalisation has great advantages for the EU and third countries. Yet we need an emergency brake for all visa free counties to make sure that visa liberalisation cannot be abused. I’m pleased that we agreed today on a mechanism that makes it easier to act against abuse. I’m looking forward to working with the European Parliament to realize this soon”, said Klaas Dijkhoff, Minister for Migration of the Netherlands and President of the Council.

The main objective of this proposal is to strengthen the suspension mechanism by making it easier for member states to notify circumstances leading to a possible suspension,by enabling the Commission to trigger the mechanism on its own initiative and by tasking the Commission to send a yearly report to the European Parliament and Council on the continous fulfillement of the criteria of visa-exempt third countries.

The possible grounds of suspension have been extended, and will also include a decrease of cooperation on readmission, in particular indicated by a substantial increase in the refusal rate of readmission applications, including for third-country nationals having transited through the third country concerned, and a substantial increase of risks to the public policy or internal security of the member states.

The use of the mechanism will also be facilitated by shortening reference periods and deadlines allowing for a faster procedure. In particular, the reference period for comparing the circumstances leading to the suspension with the situation of the previous year or before the visa liberalisation is shortened from six to two months.

The suspension can be triggered by a notification of a member state or by the Commission. If a simple majority of member states notifies, the Commission will have to adopt a draft implementing decision temporarily suspending the exemption from the visa requirement for the nationals of the third country concerned for a period of six months.

Moreover, the Council has also introduced a monitoring mechanism with the purpose of ensuring that third countries which have been granted visa exemption following a visa liberalisation dialogue continue to fulfil the criteria which were the basis for granting visa free status.

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