Grenada government welcomes visa-free travel to European Union
ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada, Saturday November 17, 2012 – The Grenada government says it welcomes a policy decision by the European Commission to allow Grenadians to travel o the Schengen area without needing a visa.
Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Tillman Thomas described the decision as constructive and that it provides Grenadians with the chance to take advantage of opportunities that may arise from business exchanges and people to people contact.
Thomas welcomed the announcement from Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs that the change is more than “just a symbolic gesture” and is intended to have a direct impact between the European Commission and Grenada.
“This is a very positive step for Grenada and the four other Caribbean countries that will benefit from the change. It will increase opportunities for our people travelling to Europe and it will make it easier for the development of partnerships. We welcome this development because it will also impact our tourism industry,” Prime Minister Thomas said.
A Grenada government statement said the objective is to simplify travel to the Schengen area, as well as to Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania.
“A national from one of these countries would no longer require a visa for short stays (up to 90 days) if he/she is in possession of a passport, be it for business, touristic or family visit purposes.
“This will make travel planning easier and reduce the travelling costs. Member States' limited consular presence in many of these countries has resulted in visa applicants often having to travel abroad to apply for a Schengen visa.
“Citizens from 16 Island Nations will soon be able to travel to the Schengen area without needing a visa,” the statement said.
Earlier, a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis said the other Caribbean countries to benefit from the initiative are Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Schengen area includes 22 EU member states and four associated States. The visa waiver will also apply to Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus which are not yet full members of the Schengen area.
“The UK and Ireland do not participate in the Schengen cooperation and do not take part in the common visa policy. They therefore have separate visa arrangements with non-EU countries, The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said,
It said in 2011, EU member states and the countries participating in the Schengen cooperation issued around 12 million visas. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)