"The objective of the revised regulation is to strengthen the suspension mechanism. It does this by making it easier for member states to notify circumstances which might lead to a suspension, by enabling the Commission to trigger the mechanism on its own initiative, and by tasking the Commission to send annual reports to the European Parliament and Council on the extent to which visa-exempt third countries continue to meet the necessary criteria," the press release read.
According to the statement, the new regulation extends the possible grounds for visa suspension, including an increase in the risk to public policy and internal security of the member states, a decrease in cooperation on readmission as well as an increase in the refusal rate of readmission applications.
The new visa suspension mechanism can now be triggered by the European Commission — previously only EU member states could trigger it.
"If a simple majority of member states notify, the Commission will have to adopt an implementing decision temporarily suspending the exemption from the visa requirement for certain categories of nationals of the third country concerned for a period of 9 months," the press release read.
The new regulation will now have to be signed by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. The signed text will then be published in the EU Official Journal and is expected to enter into force 20 days later.
The so-called visa suspension mechanism was first introduced on December 11, 2013.