Saturday, April 14, 2007

Macedonia pleased with visa facilitation agreement with EU

Macedonia believes it has hammered out "an excellent" deal with the European Commission over visa facilitation, BBC Macedonian news said.

Citing a member of Macedonia's negotiation team, BBC Macedonia says the country secured visa facilitation for some 20 categories of citizens. Macedonia, unlike the other countries in the region, has secured simplification of document requirements for certain groups of travelers to get multiple entry visas.

Students, children under 6, journalists, business people, liberal professors and event tourists will benefit from the visa facilitation agreement, signed Thursday in Brussels, Macedonian's negotiation team said.

According to Macedonia's chief negotiator Agnesa Rusi, one of the benefits of the agreement is the possibility that visa applicants can formally complain if they are not being issued entry visas for reasons not in compliance with the agreement.

BBC Macedonia cites sources in the European Commission as saying the most difficult and unsuccessful part of the negotiations was the rejection of Macedonia's proposal to add the Greek visas into Schengen visa-free group. The move turned futile, as Greeks made it clear that they don't recognize the Macedonian passports.

According to evolution cause of the agreement initialed by Macedonia and the EU, the EU and Macedonia can negotiate the possibility of lifting visa requirements for Macedonian citizens after the launch of negotiations on Macedonia's accession into EU.

Macedonia's negotiation team in Brussels and the EU also initialed readmission agreement, a move that was closely connected with visa facilitation.

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