USA might eliminate visas for Romanians this year, says Diaconescu

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Minister of Foreign Affairs Cristian Diaconescu said that the USA might include Romania in its Visa Waiver Program (VWP), but drew attention that the visa denial level is further high.

„Romania is „on top of the agenda” as regards its inclusion into the Visa Waiver system, namely the visa elimination, but this is not a question to be solved tomorrow, although there are chances that this might happen this year still, under conditions in which the visa denial rate will be diminished”, said Cristian Diaconescu on Sunday, on a TV channel.

He pointed out that visa elimination for Romanians does not depend directly on the US State Department, but mainly on the Congress. As well, Chief of Romanian diplomacy underlined that the visa denial rate is still high – exceeding 17-18 percent – and the condition to be admitted into VWP is a denial rate not higher than 3-4 percent.

On the other hand, Minister Diaconescu underlined that a great part of denials are due to the fact that „people fail to know how to complete their applications”, so that MAE could initiate an information campaign to this end, as Hungary proceeded in the past.

Romania, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Poland and Bulgaria are the six European Union states for which the US visas are still compulsory. Three of these countries have a visa denial rate of more than 10 percent (Romania – some 20 percent, Bulgaria 13.3 percent, Poland 13.8 percent), and the other three states succeeded to go below the Washington set ceiling (Greece – 1.5 percent, Malta – 2.5 percent, Cyprus – 1.7 percent).

On the other hand, Diaconescu underscored he was in some emotional state, when leaving for the USA, but acknowledged that Romania is known in detail in Washington.

„I had some worries because beyond Romania’s strategic positioning and the way the American side sees it from this angle, I wanted to ascertain if Romania is really on our American interlocutors’ map.

Certainly, maybe for many, this does not mean a thing, but for us it means – the American Administration being in full ongoing campaign for the reconfiguration of its strategies and foreign policy and we wanted to see where Romania is on that map”, underlined Cristian D iaconescu.

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