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Visas and betrayal

The Bush-Merkel-Barroso summit may have escaped notice in the hoopla surrounding the first of May, but it produced a resolution on climate change. It would have been far more welcome if it had produced a resolution on changing the US visa regime for new EU members.

The Bush-Merkel-Barroso summit may have escaped notice in the hoopla surrounding the first of May, but it produced a resolution on climate change. It would have been far more welcome if it had produced a resolution on changing the US visa regime for new EU members.

It now looks as if Foreign Minister Kubiš' optimism that we will be travelling to the US without visas in 2008 was somewhat hasty. The problem lies not only in the bill that has passed the Senate and now lies before the House of Representatives, but also with Brussels, under whose authority visa policy falls. Not only have signs of a possible betrayal been emerging, but it does not appear that the summit even discussed the tightening of US security controls or the inclusion of new EU members Bulgaria and Romania into the visa-free regime.

Germany's interest is that the expansion of the non-visa program not lead to a tightening of security measures (as several congressmen have demanded), because that would complicate travel for citizens of EU countries who today do not need visas. It is clear that lobby pressures in the US will be wasted if they are not accompanied by lobbying in Brussels.


Sme, May 3

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