The European Commission is planning to introduce an EU-wide system of visa authorization for the citizens of countries that can enter the bloc’s territory without a visa. The first draft will be presented in the upcoming autumn and it will modeled based on the American ESTA – a US scheme requiring international travellers who do not need a visa to enter the US territory to apply online and pay an administrative fee of $14.
Germany and France have been pushing for a pan-European visa-free authorization travel for long and the proposal comes right at the time of heightened security concerns. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that the system would be inspired by the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) in the United States, an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the country. Similar systems also exist in Canada and Australia.
The idea has not only been triggered by increasing security concerns but also in the light of the latest visa liberalization proposals for counties such as Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo and Turkey. The main goal of the scheme is to make sure that travellers do not “overstay“ their visa. On top of the “ESTA“ planning, the EU has also stepped up anti-terrorism coordination with proposals for new EU rules to make operators of mobile messaging services provide access for terrorism investigators to encrypted content. Brussels is also planning a pilot project called ADEP, which will enable automated transmission of judicial records between police services. Six EU Member States are already part of the initiative and if it proves to be working well, all members will be included.