The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) intends to launch a public communication campaign on the conditions that Romanian citizens must meet in order to enter the territory of the United States of America, aimed at reducing the refusal rate, Minister Bogdan Aurescu told on Wednesday private television broadcaster Digi24.
He mentioned that Romania will not be able to enter the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of certain countries to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business for a limited period, as long as the rejection rate of the applications stays at over 3 percent.
“The Visa Waiver Program is regulated by U.S. Congress legislation, it provides for a 3 percent ceiling of the refusal rate on visa applications for six-month short-term visas in the United States. We are not yet at this 3 percent ceiling, we are at around 9-10 percent (…) We must therefore continue to make efforts to raise public awareness for Romanian citizens, when they apply for a visa to know if they have a chance to obtain this visa. Otherwise we risk remaining at this ceiling or not progressing fast enough to reach 3 percent,” Aurescu specified.
According to the minister, the public information campaign will start “from the concrete elements of the visa refusal”.
“What we are looking for in the next period is to launch a public information campaign, starting from the concrete elements of the refusal, and this is what I discussed in my recent telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to review together what the reasons for the refusal are. The moment we have a discussion on the reasons for the refusal, then we will be able to focus this public campaign on exactly those elements that make us stay at such a high ceiling at the moment, far from the 3 percent ceiling that introduces us to the Visa Waiver. Apart from that, other conditions related to the Romanian authorities have been met,” said the foreign minister.
Romania, not directly threatened by the evolution of the situation on the Black Sea, but it must be de-escalated
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu said on Wednesday evening that Romania is not directly threatened by the evolution of the situation on the Black Sea, but it must be de-escalated.
“It is a situation that preoccupies us and in relation to which we have expressed our concern (…) It is the largest Russian troop build-up since 2014, it is really, based on all the analyses, an unusual troop movement that has alerted NATO, naturally, it alerted the United States, the members of the European Union and we are concerned, because we want to identify the objectives of these maneuvers and, at the same time, to see what are the most appropriate measures to de-escalate this situation,” Foreign Affairs ministers told private TV broadcaster Digi 24.
According to Aurescu, Romania is not directly threatened by these developments, but what is happening in the Black Sea also affects Euro-Atlantic security.
“We are equally concerned and affected by this situation as a North Atlantic alliance in its entirety, because everything that happens in the Black Sea also affects Euro-Atlantic security (…) and from this perspective we are very concerned about what is happening in this area (…) Consequently, I think it is very important to see the exact features and parameters of these developments and not tire at any time to call for the withdrawal of these manifestations of force, these demonstrations of Russian authority in the Black Sea,” he pointed out.
The head of the Romanian diplomacy mentioned that the situation at the Black Sea will be one of the topics on the agenda of the Romania-Poland-Turkey trilateral, which will take place starting on Thursday in Bucharest.
“We will have both Polish and Turkish foreign ministers here, with physical presence, and we are already starting the first working meeting tomorrow evening and then a plenary session on Friday, with the foreign ministers of Georgia and Ukraine joining us (…). So we practically have a regional mini-summit, with five foreign ministers, who will discuss the situation of regional security (…) What is important, at least for diplomats at the moment, is to find ways to de-escalate this situation This is one of the issues we will discuss at this trilateral meeting in Bucharest, because, after all, arguments are the diplomats’ weapons and we must make sure that the situation does not reach a point when diplomacy has got nothing left to do,” Aurescu specified.
The head of diplomacy also voiced his conviction that the talks that will take place in Bucharest will have an important impact.
“At NATO level, at the level of the European Union we are trying to find the most appropriate action measures to de-escalate such a situation, to give as strong signals as possible in support of the territorial integrity, the sovereignty of Ukraine, in this case, to counter human rights violations (…) I am very convinced that the discussions we will have these days in Bucharest will have an important impact, because they show the seriousness with which we treat the evolutions at regional level,” Bogdan Aurescu also said.