PM pushes for travel ease to EU

Head of the European Union in the Pacific, Julian Wilson shaking his hand with the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama after the opening of the 2-day Fiji-EU Political Dialogue in Suva yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says it is unfortunate that Fiji still finds itself discussing the issuances of visas for Fijians travelling to member countries of the European Union.
He highlighted this in his opening speech during the third high-level political dialogue between Fiji and EU held in Suva yesterday.

Mr Bainimarama said after three years there was still no progress.

“Three years ago, we raised this issue with the EU, yet today we can’t report that any progress has been made,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama believed Fiji was one of two countries in the region where citizens were not granted visas on arrival in EU member countries.

“The strength of any serious partnership is built on a foundation of fairness, dignity and equality. So again, we ask that this dialogue advance the issue of visa issuance for the Fijian people,” he said.

EU’s ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific Julian Wilson said one of their shared goals was how they could ease travel between Fiji and EU member countries.

“There is a shared vision that we want the easiest possible access for people to go between EU and Fiji, that’s the shared goal. Whether that whole visa-free thing is possible in the short term is an
issue and, therefore, what we need to make sure of is that the visa, if you heard what he was saying is basically visa on arrival, if that’s the terminology we use that’s our goal.” Mr Wilson added during this
dialogue they would be focusing their efforts on the aspects of facilitative travel.