More negotiation needed for Pac/EU visas

The European Union Ambassador for the Pacific says a plan to lift visa requirements for travellers from 10 Pacific nations still needs to be negotiated with each country before it comes into effect.

The EU has amended a regulation, which means nationals from Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu will not need a visa when entering the Schengen zone.

Andrew Jacobs says Fiji and Papua New Guinea have been left off the list because the EU wanted to focus on smaller Pacific nations first, and then consider larger countries.

He says negotiations for bilateral agreements still need to take place.

"The European Union member states have agreed to lifting visa requirements, but this needs to be negotiated on a country-by-country basis. So the groundwork is done, but it does require negotiation."

Andrew Jacobs says it is not known how many Pacific Islanders apply for visas, because many applications are made outside of the Pacific region.

He says the Schengen visa usually costs 60 Euro.

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