The Council agreed its position on the proposed visa waiver suspension mechanism

Today the Council of the EU agreed its negotiating position on the proposed Regulation to revise the suspension mechanism to be applied to all existing visa liberalisation agreements.

3465th JHA Council

On the occasion of the Justice and Home Affairs Council today, Ministers highlighted that visa liberalisation has great advantages for the EU and third countries. Yet they recognized the need for an "emergency brake" for all visa free countries to make sure that visa liberalisation can't be abused. In this regard they agreed on their position regarding a mechanism making it easier to act against abuse and stated they were ready to work on it with the European Parliament.

The proposal makes it easier for Member States to notify circumstances leading to a possible suspension; enables the Commission to trigger the mechanism on its own initiative and tasks the Commission to send a yearly report to the European Parliament and Council on the continuous fulfilment 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. The use of the mechanism will also be facilitated by shortening reference periods and deadlines allowing for a faster procedure.

Background information

On 11 December 2013, the European Parliament and Council adopted Regulation 1289/2013, which amended Regulation 539/2001 by introducing the so-called "suspension mechanism" and modifying the reciprocity mechanism.

In the context of the current migratory situation in the European Union and taking into account the Commission's recent proposals for visa liberalisation of Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey and Kosovo and the recent discussions with Member States, the Commission decided on 4 May 2016 to present a proposal to amend Regulation 539/2001 to revise the current suspension mechanism.

Source: Press release of the Council of the EU

Publication Date: Fri 20 May 2016
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