Polish visa-free travel to US clinched by EU trade deal?

Polish visa-free travel to US clinched by EU trade deal?

Poland’s deputy minister of the economy has claimed that a prospective free trade deal between the EU and the US will finally see visa restrictions lifted for Polish citizens.

Statua Wolności w Nowym Jorku fot.Peter Foley/PAP/EPA

fot.Peter Foley/PAP/EPA

“It’s almost decided,” said deputy minister Andrzej Dycha. “We’ve had consultations on this matter with our American partners, and thanks to the agreement Poles will not need visas to travel to the United States.”

Negotiations concerning the so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have already lasted nine months, and the agreement is due to be signed this year.

The TTIP has been touted as a major catalyst for boosting the EU and US economies, and also the global one. Dycha has said that a clause concerning the free movement of persons will be integal to the agreement.

However, the US Embassy in Warsaw has been careful not to confirm the claims. Embassy spokesperson Sam Goffman has noted that immigration law is handled independently of trade agreements. He neverthless added in a written statement that “President Obama supports Polish aspirations concerning the visa-waiver programme.”

Only four EU countries are still not included in the visa-waiver programme (Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus).

In June, the US Senate approved draft legislation that would abolish visas for citizens of countries who had had less than 10 percent of their annual visa applications rejected.

At present, the level is 3 percent.

However, not only has the House of Representatives failed to pass the legislation, but the number of visa rejections for Poles in 2013 shot up to 10.8 percent, meaning that Poles would still not be eligible. (nh, thenews.pl)

Categories: News in English
Tags: deal, UE, US, visa

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