The European Parliament votes to reintroduce visas for Americans

EUROPE and America have been slowly drifting apart for millions of years. Tectonic shift means that the physical distance between the continents grows by about an inch every year. If only the political divergence were so languid. From NATO to Donald Trump’s travel ban to accusations of currency manipulation, the gap between once-strong allies on either side of the Atlantic has rarely felt as chasmic.

Relations may get frostier yet. On March 2nd, the European Parliament voted temporarily to suspend visa-free travel for Americans visiting the EU. The vote is not binding—it will be up to the European Commission, the body’s executive arm, to decide whether to implement the recommendation. Nonetheless, the decision marks a sad state of affairs.

The main reason for the vote is the way that travellers from some EU countries are treated by America. While most citizens of EU countries can travel to the United States without a visa, those from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania must still obtain one. Because the EU demands equal treatment of all its citizens in such matters, it says it is legally obliged to fight back. 

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