|Author (Person)||Cronin, David|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.34, 20.9.01, p13|
THE Czech authorities have signalled that they may rescind a decision to reimpose visa requirements on Romanian visitors once rules allowing them free entry to EU territory come into effect.
Last month Prague announced that an agreement with Bucharest enabling its citizens to travel across the Czech border without visas would be suspended from 1 October due to a substantial rise in the number of Romanians seeking asylum.
The move precedes a meeting of justice and home affairs ministers next week (27-28 September). Some observers had predicted a decision which could finally end Romania's status as the only central or Eastern European country involved in the enlargement negotiations, whose citizens remain obliged to hold visas before entering the Union.
But the issue has now been eclipsed by preparations for an anti-terrorism package in response to last week's atrocities in the United States.
Libor Secka, Prague's ambassador to the EU, said his government had "not excluded the possibility of harmonising our position with the European Union" if the justice ministers decided to waive the visa rule.
He insisted that the reimposition was just a temporary measure, taken in response to how more than 800 Romanians had lodged asylum applications with the Czech authorities during the first six months of 2001, compared to just 510 for all of 2001.
Although Bucharest believes that Prague's move runs counter to at least the spirit of the EU enlargement process, a spokesman for Romania's Brussels embassy said its government is not likely to take any retaliatory action against the Czech Republic.
The Czech authorities have signalled that they may rescind a decision to reimpose visa requirements on Romanian visitors once rules allowing them free entry to EU territory come into effect.
|Countries / Regions||Czechia, Romania|