There is considerable disquiet in many EU Member States - notably the ten post-2004 Member States minus Slovenia, but plus Greece - that their citizens cannot travel on the visa waiver programme to the US (applicable to short tourist or business visits), but US citizens can travel visa-free to all twenty-five EU Member States. Speaking in the market square in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, last year, George Bush promised progress in this area. However, since it seems likely that concessions might only be forthcoming for Poland, and these are related to Poland's continuing commitment of a certain number of military personnel to the occupation effort in Iraq, it would appear that progress is based on something other than a generalised commitment towards liberalising the movement of persons across the allegedly 'free' world. Now, it is mooted that the EU could engage in 'sanctions' against the EU, exercising muscle on a collective basis. The opportunity to raise this point is the US-EU summit this week. See here
. Relatedly, it has been suggested
that similar steps could be taken against Canada to bring about an equalisation of treatment of citizens of Canada in the EU Member States, and citizens of the EU Member States in Canada.
Now quite apart from the effectiveness of such 'sanctions', which apparently might only extend to US diplomatic personnel, who are already subject to visa requirements in a number of Member States including France and which would definitely not include the UK and Ireland, unless they unilaterally opted in, as this is a Schengen matter on which they have an opt-out, it is none the less interesting to see the EU trying, tentitatively, to exercise muscle in relation to the external dimension (i.e. visa relations with a third state) of one of its fastest developing but still very contentious internal policies (justice and home affairs, and specifically here visa policy).
I doubt if it will have any effect this time round, but it is perhaps a sign of things to come in the future.