DIPLOMACY

President Iohannis: Romania will continue negotiations with Canada for visa liberalization

Romania will continue negotiations with Canada for visa liberalization regardless of the result of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations, said, on Friday, President Klaus Iohannis, after the Canadian Minister of Commerce, Chrystia Freeland, has confirmed the failure of negotiations carried out with the representatives of the Belgian region of Wallonia.

He also showed that Wallonia still has reserves regarding CETA, and the European Council has not reached an agreement with this region.

The head of state also declared himself optimistic regarding the conclusion of CETA.

The European Commission has not renounced the signing of the free trade agreement with Canada (CETA), despite the failure of the last negotiations carried out on Friday with the French-speaking Belgian region of Wallonia, which blocked the signing of the agreement, sources say.

Romania and Bulgaria removed their objections with regards to the agreement, following negotiations that resulted in an agreement with the Canadian side on the topic of visa liberalization, and as such, all government in the EU have expressed approval for the signing of the treaty, except Belgium, which requires agreement from all its five federal provinces before expressing approval.

Earlier on Friday, President Klaus Iohannis announced that an agreement has been reached between Romania and Canada for Canada to lift the visa requirements for Romanian nationals travelling to Canada as from 2017.

“I’ve got good news. This morning, an agreement was reached with Canada, a reasonable agreement for both sides, and so we are now in a very favourable position for Romania to withdraw its objection over the signing of Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Romania has no longer any objection over the agreement with Canada. This is quite a good agreement,” said Iohannis.

He said May 1, 2017 is the date when the visa requirements would be lifted for Romanian nationals previously issued with a Canadian visa, while on December 1, 2017 the lifting would be valid for all Romanian nationals travelling to Canada.

He added that that a “snap pack” mechanism will be set in place so that if the number of Romanian immigrants reaches a sizeable level, Canada will be allowed to exercise its right to reinstate the visa regime temporarily.

“This snap pack provision will be in police for at most three years, after which it will be revoked under international agreement only,” said Iohannis.

He mentioned that the agreement with Canada enters into force when the CETA is signed.

“The visa agreement we negotiated with Canada will come into force when the CETA is initialled,” said Iohannis.

He added that a similar agreement was reached between Bulgaria and Canada, and that only the province of Wallonia still has objections over CETA.

“I hope the other parties with reservations over the agreement will reach an agreement with Canada so that we may have the agreement, which I believe is an excellent one in essence,” said Iohannis.

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