US Ambassador Hans Klemm stated on Wednesday in Alba Iulia that Romania currently meets only some of the criteria for the Visa Waiver Programme, but that the country is on the right path.
During his visit to Alba Iulia, upon exiting the Roman-Catholic Cathedral, the US Ambassador was asked by a Law student when and what criteria must be met for Romania to enter the Visa Waiver Programme.
The US Ambassador stated that most of them have been met, as a result of the Government’s work, but one of them is that the number of applicants being denied visas must be below a certain level. It is on the right path, Romania is heading in the right direction, he added. The US diplomat also pointed out that there is also a possibility that the US will change the legislation and there is an active discussion, supported by the Obama Administration, to change the law and the conditions, something that would have an immediate impact for Romanians. According to the US Ambassador, right now immigration is a very sensitive subject and thus, it would prevent the Congress from modifying legislation, but this is a direction that is supported by the US president.
Later, the journalists present addressed the same topic.
“It is a complicated topic, Ambassador Klemm answered, but what I would like to tell you is that the Obama Administration worked with the US Congress on changing the law. Should it be changed, it will allow Romanians and citizens in other Eastern European countries to benefit from the Visa Waiver Program. This entails a change of legislation”, Klemm explained, adding that, similarly to other countries, immigration is a very sensitive topic in the United States. The US Ambassador added that himself, as well as the US president, his administrations and State Secretary are hoping that the US Congress will change the law in time so that Romania can become eligible for the Visa Waiver Program.
The U.S. ambassador paid a fact-finding visit to the central Romanian city, where he met city mayor Mircea Hava at the City Hall headquarters. Klemm, accompanied by his wife, attended the ceremony of changing the Guard of Alba Carolina Fortress, who saluted him and offered him a three-gun salute. The U.S. diplomat then visited, for over an hour, the main sites in Alba Iulia – The Union Hall, Saint Michael Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Reunification Cathedral, Principia Museum.
US remains very strong ally of Romania
U.S. ambassador Hans Klemm said in Alba Iulia on Wednesday that the United States remains a strong friend and ally of Romania at this time of transition.
Romania is undergoing a period of transition. I have hope for the people in Romania and their democratic institutions. The United States of America, during this period of transition, remains a very strong partner, a friend and ally of Romania, Klemm stressed.
Klemm thanked the mayor for the time spent with him and his wife on this day, and also for the tour of the city and the fortress. He said he learned a lot of things about “your beautiful city, Alba Iulia”, about the history of this part of Transylvania and also about the promise that “your city makes for the future of Romania”. The ambassador hopes this location will prove attractive both for the American investors and the American citizens who might come to visit and discover and enjoy both the city and Transylvania.
The U.S. diplomat said he was delighted with Alba Iulia’s location and also with how clean there is everywhere. He said the renovation of the fortress has turned the city into an attractive destination not only for Romanians, but for the United States citizens too.
Klemm said he must learn as much as he can about Romania, and after having visited Deveselu on Tuesday, he arrived in Alba Iulia too so as to see “one of the most beautiful cities in Romania, but also one of the most successful”. Therefore, he said, he came to see a city that functions, why it goes so well and maybe Alba Iulia’s model may be taken over by other cities and localities in the country, which should also attract American investments.
Klemm wishes PM-designate lots of success in forming new Gov’t
U.S. ambassador Hans Klemm said in Alba Iulia on Wednesday that he wishes Prime Minister-designate Dacian Ciolos, whom he has not yet met, lots of success in forming the new Government and in developing a programme that should ensure a path to development, stability and prosperity.
We wish Mr. Ciolos lots of success in forming the new Government, to find talented people who should be part of the cabinet and to develop a programme that should meet the people’s needs and to ensure, at least for the year to come, a path to development, stability and prosperity. I have not yet met Mr. Ciolos, but I hope to have the opportunity to do it very soon, Klemm said.
As regards the recent protests in Romania, the U.S. ambassador said he was very impressed with the fact the protests were peaceful. He added he saw such demonstrations as an expression of hope for the future of Romania.