Corina Cretu in U.S.A.: Keeping up visa requirements causes bewilderment in EU member countries

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Euro-parliamentarian Corina Cretu (ESP/PSD) pleaded with the United States for the lifting of visa requirements imposed to citizens of the five European Union (EU) member states, including Romania, in the first day of the Transatlantic Inter-Parliamentary Conference held in Washington.

“U.S. visa requirements causes frustration and bewilderment in the EU member states whose citizens do not benefit of an equal treatment as European citizens in spite that, to a great extent, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Poland and Cyprus meet the same conditions related to security as the other countries beneficiaries of the Visa waiver programme”, stated Corina Cretu, vice-president of EP’s Development Committee (DEVE) and member of the Euro-parliamentary Delegation for relations with the U.S. Congress, according to a release remitted by the Department of communication of the social democrat delegation in the European Parliament.

According to PSD MEP, this discriminating attitude raises concern and the European Commission energetically approached this issue in the past year, reminding that EP officially requested in March the inclusion of all EU citizens into the Visa waiver programme.
“Unfortunately, Romania is individualized among the five aforementioned countries through the highest rate of rejection of visa applications”, added Corina Cretu, drawing attention upon the fact that the rejection rate for Romanian applicants rose in 2009. Romania has hit a rejection rate of 25 percent in 2008 and in 2009 it rose even higher to 26.3 percent.

On July 1, the United States decided to reduce visas rejection ceiling, in order to be included in the Visa waiver programme, from 10 percent previously to 3 percent. If 10 percent was a hardly enough target, but not impossible, the 3 percent ceiling would cancel any hope Romania may qualify for the Visa Waiver programme”, explained DEV E vice-president.

Corina Cretu underlined in her talks with the American congressmen and at the State Department that the issue of rejection rate must be solved in a first stage, this representing the main criteria for the elimination of visas obligatory character.

“A first step could be a higher transparency as for the reasons for this high refusal rate of the applications. Because the examination procedure of visa applications is an exclusive American competence it is needed a closer bilateral cooperation for a better information connected to the United States imposed requirements”, concluded the social democrat MEP.

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