In recent years, the visa policy of member States seems to have become more and more severe and bureaucratic, creating additional obstacles to the free movement of people which is one of the major objectives of the Council of Europe.
Excessive demands for additional supposing documents, obliging people to apply for visas through independent service providers who work with embassies, with refusals to grant visas without stating reasons – these are all signs of real discrimination on the basis of nationality.
Politicians also very often use visa issues in their populist attempts to receive more electoral support or to divert the attention of people from more serious problems.
Visa policy continues to be a big problem in Europe despite the European Agreement on Regulations governing the Movement of Persons between member States of the Council of Europe adopted 13 December 1957 in Paris.
The Parliamentary Assembly has already addressed the issue, in particular in its Recommendation 1373 (1998), but has never tried to check the existing visa policies of member States for compliance with non-discrimination rules. It should therefore consider this issue again.