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25/09/2016

Bulgaria links US visa treatment to TTIP

Justice & Home Affairs

Bulgaria links US visa treatment to TTIP

us_visa.jpg

The Bulgarian minister of economy has stated that during the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks the United States should lift the visa requirements on the country’s nationals, Dnevnik, the EurActiv partner in Bulgaria wrote yesterday (26 November).

Minister Bozhidar Lukarski was quoted as saying that the visa problem Bulgaria has with the USA is part of the national position regarding the TTIP talks.

Citizens of some new EU member states including Bulgaria, Romania and Poland still need a visa to travel to countries such as the United States, Canada or Australia.

Lukarski said his country wanted the visa issue to be discussed during the TTIP talks, but added that this was not a Bulgarian pre-condition.

“I hope we will receive serious support from EU member states, as well as understanding on behalf of our American partners”, he said.

The US is generally supportive of lifting the visa requirement for its EU allies, but says its internal regulations require that the respective nationals who have been admitted on its territory don’t overstay, which appears to be the case with Bulgarian, Romanian and Polish nationals.

The Commission wants “third countries” to apply a uniform visa policy vis-à-vis the 28 member states.

>> Read: EU gives US six months to come clean on visa policy

According a recent regulation, the Commission can in theory temporarily suspend the EU’s own visa exemptions on foreign countries if they have not lifted their visa requirements within six months.

The new legislation is an initiative of the European Parliament, which in a 2012 report, drew a list of third countries maintaining visa requirements on some EU countries.

According to MEPs, the Lisbon Treaty gives new powers to the Union to request that its member countries are treated as a whole, and that the US reciprocates on visa policy.