The Commission proposes to update the EU visa policy to spur the tourism

The European Commission adopted a Communication that examines how the implementation and development of the common visa policy could help growth in the EU by facilitating travel opportunities for third country nationals willing to visit the EU.

According to the European Commission, if fully exploited, the current visa rules could ensure that the EU remains an attractive destination for more tourists/third country nationals, while at the same time boosting EU's economic activity and job creation. This is the main conclusion drawn from the recently adopted Communication in which the Commission how more could be done to increase tourism flows from those countries presenting a high tourist generating potential as well as a growing purchasing power. The idea is presented at the same time that the Commission is proposing that citizens from 16 Island Nations can be able to travel to the Schengen area without needing a visa by amending Regulation 539/2001.

Within the Communication, the Commission stressed that a lot can be achieved already under existing visa rules and many obstacles can be removed by a correct implementation of the Visa Code by Member States' consulates that entered into force in March 2010. Moreover, technological developments should also be taken into account.

On the other hand, the Communication proposes to study possible changes of the current visa rules, including streamlining and shortening the procedures; Clarifying the definition of the competent consulate for processing the visa application; Simplifying the application form; Simplifying/clarifying the requirements for supporting documents; Clarifying the rules on visa fee waivers; Clarifying the rules on the issuing of multiple entry visas; Improving consular organisation and cooperation, e.g. by redefining the legal framework for Common Application Centres, facilitating the establishment of such centres and their functioning; and Enhancing Local Schengen Cooperation (harmonising visa practices in the Schengen countries), in order to make it more efficient.