The EU and Colombia hope to extend the current agreement that allows visa-free travel in the Schengen area before Christmas. EurActiv’s partner EFE reports.
European and Colombian authorities hope to be able to finalise an agreement that will extend the current arrangement eliminating the visa requirement for Colombian and Peruvian travellers, said the EU’s representation in Colombia on Monday (26 October).
At a meeting in Luxembourg, the EU’s Council of Ministers approved an agreement that allows Colombian and Peruvian nationals to travel in the Schengen area for 90 days without a visa.
“We are in a continuous dialogue with the Colombian government and Brussels to set a date to sign the agreement struck today. It’s good news,” said Ana Paula Zacarías, the EU’s ambassador to Colombia.
The initiative to provide a Schengen-visa exemption was first proposed in August 2013 by Spain’s president, Mariano Rajoy and it was signed in Brussels the following June at the EU-CELAC summit (Community of Latin America and Caribbean States).
Zacarías added that the removal of the visa requirement stimulates “mobility toward the EU, family visits and business”, which will only serve to strengthen “socio-economic development and mutual understanding”.
According to the information released by the EU’s Bogota office, “both the Colombian and European authorities hope to finalise the agreement before Christmas”.
She added that the period of time before the entry into force of the deal will be used by “airlines, customs and other authorities at different entry points to put necessary measures in place”, so that it can be implemented from day one.
The EU reminded Colombians and Peruvians that in order to enter the Schengen area, they would have to hold a passport that would still be valid for a minimum period of three months after the date of return, a return ticket and a hotel reservation or invite from a friend or family member. Sufficient financial resources for the duration of the stay will also have to be demonstrated.
Under no circumstances will the visa exemption be granted if the motive to enter the area is to look for work or carry out paid-work in any of the countries.
In addition to the 28 member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are included in the area.