The European Commission is discussing a potential one-year suspension of its visa waiver agreement with the United States and Canada, which would require all travelers to obtain a visa for travel to Europe. The following statement can be attributed to Michael W. McCormick, executive director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA):
“GBTA strongly discourages European policy makers from considering a suspension of its visa waiver agreement with the United States and Canada. The agreement facilitates travel, spurring job creation and economic growth and is a vital tool for promoting international trade. A suspension would have a negative impact on business travel, which accounted for an estimated $1.2 trillion dollars in global spending last year.
A suspension would also create a backlog of visa applications for travel to Europe, decrease international travel and create a lasting, negative impact on EU relations with the United States and Canada. In a time where the global economy already faces many uncertainties, this move could deal a devastating blow to further economic growth.”
In a Communication released today, the European Commission acknowledges that a suspension of the visa waiver agreement would adversely affect trans-Atlantic cooperation at a time when it is more important than ever to step up our common efforts. It also points out the subsequent decrease in the number of travelers from Canada and the United States, which would lead to a considerable economic loss for the EU.