European Union considers “the symmetric reply” to the law ratified in the USA the last week that restricts traveling freedom of the EU member-state citizens beyond the ocean. It’s true though that this measure can affect not only Americans, but also citizens of all other countries, that travel without visas to united Europe (it refers to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and some republics of Latin America, about 40 countries all together). Following the Americans Brussels menaces to bring in total electronic registration of tremendous number of foreign guests.
Everything began with the fact that the last Friday president Bush signed the law that demands of tourists from Western Europe and some other countries from the USA visa waiver program to fill in an electronic questionnaire in the Internet before departure. It is one of the Anti-Terror measures taking by America. It also includes the great resentment-provoking requirement to fully scan all the airplanes and even cargo containers coming to the USA. At that, this should be done when they are still in European ports. Americans gave Europeans five years to prepare, but even now the European Commission denominated this requirement as “an excessive”, supposing that such approach can affect turnover of commodities between Europe and America.
Though it is also true that European Union itself started to think about strengthening of control over visa-free passenger entry, when a year ago Britons defeated the attempt of terrorists to skyjack ten transatlantic liners at once and head them to the USA. The new American law only prompted this thinking.
“The final decision has not been taken yet, but we also consider the idea of bringing in online electronic registration for those foreigners that do not need visa to EU (as it is successfully practiced in Australia)”, – representative of the European Commission Fryzo Roskam Abbing said. But firstly, by his words, Europeans want to investigate every quarter of such innovation for it would not cause significant difficulties for those people who wish to visit Europe. It is still unclear whether Brussels will force only Americans to register or also citizens of all the “visa-free” countries. It is out of relation to those who travel with visa, in particular to Russians since they do previously fill in the questionnaires.
On Monday in Brussels Director General of European Commission department dealing with the issues of justice and internal affairs, Jonathan Foll, met with the high-ranking official of the USA state department Paul Rosentsweigh and noted those difficulties that Europeans might face with. Now for the majority of the EU citizens, except those who come from the countries only lately entered the Union it is enough to simply buy the tickets to travel to the USA. Recently the USA has expanded the circle of “visa-free” countries, but some members of EU, for example Poland, are still beyond it. This doesn’t satisfy Brussels because it crucially emphasizes the equality of all the members of European Union.