News Czech Republic ready for bilateral visa deal

All articles

Czech Republic ready for bilateral visa deal

The Czech Republic is set to sign a deal that will pave the way for visa-free travel to the United States for its citizens.

The Czech Republic is set to break ranks with European Union partners and sign a deal that will pave the way for visa-free travel to the United States for its citizens.

Reports have claimed that Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek – currently on a visit to the White House – had agreed to sign a ‘memorandum of understanding’ that binds the country into providing extensive security details.

European Union officials have issued scepticism at the conditions of US visa relaxation, with many reluctant to see personal traveller details committed to the US in online approval questionnaires – and many concerns aired over the introduction of air marshals on flights between the signatories.

Czech deputy prime minister Alexandr Vondra was recently quoted as saying: "The EU has done nothing for us on visas. There was no help, no solidarity in the past. It’s in our interest to move ahead."

While Topolanek is expected to negotiate the amount of details Czech travellers will have to provide for visa-free travel, another contentious issue will be raised if – as rumoured – further agreements are etched out tomorrow to place US radar bases for missile defence systems on Czech soil.

American officials have identified the Czech memorandum as a potential blueprint for similar agreements with the other 26 EU member states, while the European Commission has criticised Czech authorities for settling on a bilateral solution and weakening the collective bargaining position.

Map