Immigration

EU Ambassador clarifies issue on visa-free travel

There has been no specific timeline given for conclusion of visa waiver agreements for Fijians to travel to European countries or vice-versa.  The European Union Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific H.E Andrew Jacobs said the process can take up to three years. JACOBS: “There was misunderstanding on the visa-free travel to Europe reported in […]

Staff Writers

May 11, 2016 2:33 pm

There has been no specific timeline given for conclusion of visa waiver agreements for Fijians to travel to European countries or vice-versa. 

Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific H.E Andrew Jacobs at the EU exhibition at Saint Joseph's Secondary School today. (Allison Penjueli/Newswire).
Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific H.E Andrew Jacobs at the EU exhibition at Saint Joseph’s Secondary School today. (Allison Penjueli/Newswire).

The European Union Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific H.E Andrew Jacobs said the process can take up to three years.

JACOBS: “There was misunderstanding on the visa-free travel to Europe reported in the media. The EU Delegation clarified the status of potential visa-free travel of Fijian citizens to European countries that are parties to the Schengen agreement which may take years.”

The EU Ambassador said due to some misunderstanding of media reports on the visa-free travel, he is restating that the process may take years.

“There is no specific timeline for the conclusion of such an arrangement however our previous experience with visa waiver agreements with some African, Caribbean and Pacific countries indicates that the process can take up to three years.”

In 2015, Fiji submitted a request to the European Commission to be added to a visa exemption list. However, Fiji’s request is currently being assessed.

JACOBS:” The Commission may then make a proposal to the Council of the European Union (which is made up of the EU Member States) and the European Parliament to include Fiji and other countries on the visa exemption list.

Ambassador Jacobs said next year they will take stock of the progress of Fiji’s inclusion in the list of countries whose citizens do not require a visa.

“If it is agreed to go ahead, finalisation of an agreement is likely to take two to three years.’

Meanwhile, the EU exhibition got underway today as part of its Europe Day celebrations. The three-day exhibition, organized by the EU and the Pacific Community is being held at the Saint Josephs Secondary School hall in Suva.

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