US Envoy: Visa Regime for Bulgarians Pends on Strict Law

January 26, 2013, Saturday // 01:54
US Ambassador: Lifting Visas for Bulgarians Pends on Strict Clauses: US Envoy: Visa Regime for Bulgarians Pends on Strict Law
US Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria, Marcie Ries. Photo by BGNES

The US visa regime program for Bulgaria has concrete requirements, listed in the legislation, and Bulgaria must fulfill them, in order to lift this regime.

The statement was made by US Ambassador in Sofia Marcie Ries, speaking in an interview for Nova TV Saturday.

She reiterated her earlier words that potential abolishment of the US visa regime for Bulgarians would not be a political decision as the program had certain conditions imposed by the US Congress, thus the decision would be within its authority as well.

On other topics, the diplomat spoke about media freedom, noting at first glance media market in Bulgaria appeared very lively, with many newspapers, magazines, and TV channels, but in personal conversations journalists were complaining to her from political and economic pressure which could lead to suspicions of self-censorship.

On the country's energy independence, the Ambassador stated independence would mean diversification that would provide alternative energy sources.

Ries stressed the US could end up being energy independent thanks to shale gas exploration. She said the exploration became a fact after intense debates, particularly with people living near deposit sites. As a negative of the use of shale gas, the diplomat noted low prices of producers.

According to her, Bulgaria should carefully examine and study the issue. She added the American tradition that worked well is to first ask people for their opinion on important issues and then hold a public vote.

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