Extracts from the press conference by Franco Frattini, on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 12/03/2008 First transmission: 11/03/2008
In the margins of the EP Plenary Session, Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security, gave a press conference on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
He told journalists that the European Commission endorsed his proposal to recommend to the 27 Member States to start negotiations with the US on the visa waiver programme which would allow all European citizens, including those from the new Member States, to travel to the US without visa.
He took the decision to clarify the situation and to propose a paper with some guidelines leading all the Member States to negotiate on a bilateral basis with the US only on areas that fall outside the European responsibility and competence.
The Czech Republic has already signed a document with the United States outlining an eventual visa-waiver deal. But the agreement was criticized by those who fear the US could demand more information from European states that they are legally allowed to give.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security, saying (in ENGLISH) that the College adopted a proposal to recommend the Council starting negotiations with the US on the visa waiver programme; that they will have soon a quite important Troika ministerial meeting in Slovenia where the US will be represented by the Home Secretary and the General Attorney (2 shots)
||Franco Frattini saying (in ENGLISH) that the time has come to start with a formal European negotiation in order to make it possible to have all the new Member States in the visa waiver programme; that recently, the Czech Republic has signed a memorandum of understanding with the US touching upon certain areas on exchanging data or cooperating with the US in the field of security, granting access to data basis and so on; that he took the decision to clarify the situation and to propose a paper with some guidelines leading all the Member States to negotiate on a bilateral basis with the US only, on areas that fall outside the European responsibility and competence.
||Franco Frattini saying (in ENGLISH) that while he perfectly understands concerns of all the citizens of the States concerned, new Member States but Greece, he hds to reaffirm that in visa-related matters there is an exclusive European responsibility; that it is up to the European institutions, Commission and Council, to carry out negotiations with third States, in this case the US.
||Franco Frattini saying (in ENGLISH) on the question of fining the Czech Republic for having negotiated separately with the US; that he does not see reason to talk about infringement procedure against the Czech Republic because the Czech Republic understood the boundaries between what is community responsibility and what is not; that it is why the Czech Republic ambassador agreed on March 5 at the Coperer on the common guidelines; that he hopes that Czech Republic will also agree at the Council about giving them full mandate to negotiate on behalf of all 27 Member States.