Queuing for Visas - How Much Longer?
Visa requirements for Romanian citizens traveling to the US and Canada may be lifted. The news emerged after the Romanian MEP Ioan Enciu tabled a motion for a new “reciprocity clause”.
The European Parliament would oblige US and Canada to eliminate the visa regimes for Romanians under changes to be made in EU visa regulations.
It's all good news, but at the same time the citizens of Bulgaria, Poland, Check Republic, Cyprus and Croatia still need visas to travel in the US and Canada. All these countries are full members of the European Union. Does it mean that each one of them must authorize its own MEP to settle personally the visa regime issue?
Obviously, the matter is about imposing restrictions, which is, to put it mildly, unfounded. It should be taken into account that Bulgaria has been an ally country to the US in a number of military interventions across the world. Right after Bulgaria started to build its democratic society, it “obtained” the status of the “most favored nation to trade with the US”.
Still, nearly 24 years after the communist regime collapsed we continue to line up in queues applying for visas to enter the US, as well as Canada.
It's not a political issue, it is purely technical. The US lowered its traditional standards for countries entering the Visa Waiver program and lowered the visa refusal rate to under 10%, that made countries like the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary be able to join. Poland's refusal rate has dropped to under 9% so they will join the program along with Israel this year or next. Bulgaria and Romania still have refusal rates of 18% and 17% respectively. The solution is not reciprocity but getting these two countries to improve economically as their citizens are still very poor and present an illegal immigration threat to the US and Canada. When you have such a disparate economic union like the EU you have countries like Luxembourg with a per capita income of $75,000 and then countries like Bulgaria with a per capita income of $6,000. It's very difficult to have the same visa standards for all countries in the same union with these types of differences.