BRUSSELS – The European Commission ratified two reports on Wednesday concluding that Colombia and Peru meet the conditions for a waiver of the requirement that their citizens must obtain an entry visa for travel to 26 European countries.
The Schengen Treaty allows for the free movement of goods and persons between the 26 signatory nations, most of which are European Union member states.
A ‘risk analysis’ study undertaken by the EC took into account standards such as potential risks in areas like illegal immigration and general order and security, in addition to a waiver’s potentially positive effects on the economy, tourism and foreign trade.
After the European Parliament and the European Council ratify these reports, the EC will open talks with both countries regarding the possibility of their citizens travelling to European Union territories with no entry visa needed for journeys of up to 90 days.
The EC will forward those reports to the European Parliament and the EU Council, which will give the green light for negotiations that are expected to get underway in the first quarter of next year, according to an EC statement.
On Feb. 27, the European Parliament approved by a large majority the waiver of entry visa requirements for journeys of up to three months.
The Schengen zone now includes 22 of the 28 member EU states, namely Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Greece.
The other four Schengen member states are non-EU members Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.