Travel to Europe and Pandemic Flu

Travel to Europe

Travel to Europe and Pandemic Flu

U.S. citizens traveling to Europe are soon going to have to apply for and receive an ETIAS (Effective Tourism Improvement Visa) visa waiver that will become the new global travel authorizations for Europe that will take effect from the end of next year. The new program is part of a wider EU effort to bolster its external front against international terrorism. The efforts are part of a wider effort by European Union member states to implement tougher immigration rules and tighter visa requirements on international travel. The measures were criticized in the U.S. by many prominent politicians and citizens as ineffective and unhelpful in fighting terrorism in Europe. However, the visa waiver program has been shown to be beneficial to EU member states.

EU countries are determined to tackle the external threats posed by terrorism. Many countries in the EU have been targeted in previous terrorist attacks and a handful of these countries have experienced repeated attacks over the past few years. Terrorist groups have been on a war of terror with several targeting western countries for acts of piracy and international terrorism. Each attack can be devastating and cause loss of life. To protect its citizens, all EU countries are taking the necessary steps to implement stricter visa requirements and more restrictive entry requirements for tourists and immigrants.

Currently there are only a handful of countries that have strict visa requirements for tourists traveling to Europe. These are mainly restricted to those coming from Visa Waiver Countries. Visa Waivers is countries that accept the Visa Waiver Program from select countries such as US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and travelers from certain parts of Europe and other areas of the world. These countries are expected to increase the number of countries accepting visa waivers in the near future.

In addition to implementing tighter visa requirements, many EU countries are suffering from significant infrastructural deficiencies. The lack of investment in improving infrastructure is hindering the growth of local economies. This has led to a loss of potential workers, investment in infrastructure and goods and services not reaching the people who need it most. Lack of development in the country’s infrastructure has resulted in a weaker economy and increased unemployment among European citizens.

In response to these issues, the European Union, or the EU as an entity, has implemented several measures to address these issues over the next five to twenty years. One measure is a five year plan to increase investment in infrastructure, increase the capacity of the national rail transport system and create a European Investment Network. Another measure is a proposal by Commission President Barroso to increase the quota that member countries can avail of for accessing the European Investment Bank (EIB). The Commission is also recommending the adoption of a Eurozone financial regulation called the “European Investment Strategy” or EISA. This will increase the participation of euro area countries in the inward investment funds of the EIB.

In addition to these measures, the Commission is recommending a change in the free movement of people within member countries. Currently, all EU countries are free to attract travelers from other countries by offering or providing residence permits. This policy is scheduled to end after the current EU reformed package comes into force in late 2021. The Commission is however, recommending a three-year period during which non-EU countries are required to apply the same visa requirements to their citizens as the EU countries.

Another measure is the establishment of a visa-waiver scheme for low cost traveling outside the EU. The Commission is recommending that this scheme be extended to citizens of member states of the third world from selected countries that have made progress in combating corruption. This would allow travelers from these countries to enter the EU free of any visa requirement after making an initial application for a visa waiver.

Concerns about travel to Europe also include the possibility of an outbreak of a new disease. Some viruses, like Avian flu, can jump from one animal to another and so it is important that travelers keep tabs on their hygiene. It is recommended that travelers annually get vaccinated against five bird diseases that can cause serious damage to humans. Travel to Europe can therefore be a healthy experience for those willing to do so. However, travelers should exercise caution and get themselves vaccinated for avian flu and two of the other bird diseases detailed in this article.