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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-17

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Brussels on US visa waiver pledge

  • [01] Brussels on US visa waiver pledge

    The European Commission is ready to take punitive measures against the United States if Washington fails to meets its commitment to include other EU nations in the so-called "Visa Waiver Program" until the end of the year, a spokesman for EU Commissioner Jacques Barrot said here on Friday.

    In response to a press question during a regular briefing, spokesman Michele Cercone emphasised that there is a clear commitment on the part of the outgoing Bush administration to include other EU states in the program.

    "We are waiting for the United States to fulfill this commitment," he said, warning that the Union would consider reprisals, such as mandating the issuance of visas for holders of US diplomatic passports.

    Cercone said the Union does not want to see this situation drag on, as US citizens travel freely on the European continent while Europeans need visas to enter the United States.

    In reference to Greece, the only member of the previous EU-15 not included on the visa waiver program, the spokesman said he could not forejudge any decision by the Bush administration before it is announced.

    However, he said that if Greece remains outside the waiver program then the Commission will examine Athens' reaction.

    Widespread media speculation in Greece over the past month claims that the Bush administration reneged on promises to include the east Mediterranean EU and NATO member-state in the visa waiver program, with a foreign ministry spokesman touching on the matter only days ago.

    Spokesman George Koumoutsakos on Wednesday repeated that "the Greek side expresses a hope that this will not be an irreversible decision."

    Asked whether Greece's exclusion from the visa waiver program qualifies as some sort of "retribution" by the outgoing Bush administration for certain aspects of the Greek foreign policy, Koumoutsakos echoed Greek leadership's previous statements, namely, "Greece neither comprehends nor accepts the application of pressure tactics between allies."


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