Tue, Jul 06, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Schengen visa waiver proposal moves forward

ONE STEP CLOSERThe European Parliament and European Council still must adopt the proposal before Taiwanese can visit the EU for up to 90 days visa-free

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The European Commission yesterday proposed to grant Taiwan Schengen visa waiver privileges, bringing the nation one step closer to the visa exemption.

Taiwanese will no longer be required to apply for a visa for visits to member countries of the EU for 90 days or less if the European Parliament and the European Council adopt the proposal, the commission said in a press release.

“Today’s proposal will enhance EU relations with Taiwan. It will contribute towards strengthening our trade and investment relations as well as people-to-people contacts,” European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom said in the release.

“The EU is Taiwan’s fourth-largest trading partner and its [No. 1] foreign direct investor. Easier travel conditions for Taiwanese businessmen would also facilitate Taiwanese investment in what is already the biggest single market in the world,” she said.

Taiwan had been pushing for the EU to grant the privilege. However, on April 30, the Ministry of Justice’s execution of four death-row inmates added uncertainty as to whether the nation would see its wishes granted.

The European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights in early May voiced concerns over the execution, saying it could have a negative impact on the nation’s relations with the EU.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had downplayed the impact of the execution on Taiwan’s visa waiver request.

The commission said the decision to launch the proposal is based on the standard of security of travel documents Taiwan has to meet.

It said that Taiwan’s use of biometric passports since 2008 and improvement in visa issuance procedures had had a positive effect on the decision.

If the nation is granted the visa waiver, the nation should also reciprocate by granting European visitors visa-free treatment, including travelers from Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria, the commission said.

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