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T&T Nationals to have Visa-free Travel by March

T&T Nationals to have Visa-free Travel by March

Posted by Shanelle Weir on January 17, 2015

Trinidad and Tobago nationals may be able to travel visa-free to the 26 European countries of the Schengen area by as early as March. The Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday issued a press release on bi-lateral talks held between EU officials and ministers of the Government.

Coming out of the talks, Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Dookeran was quoted as saying “great strides” had taken place in relation to the issue of visa-free travel. 

“Minister Dookeran highlighted the great strides made regarding the conclusion of a Short-stay Visa Waiver Agreement with the Schengen countries of Europe, with both sides envisaging the finalisation of the Agreement by the first quarter of 2015,” the EU’s local spokesperson said in the statement. 

Schengen countries include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Liechten-stein. The agreement relates to short-trips. 

At Tuesday’s talks, Dookeran, Planning Minister Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie, Trade Minister Vasant Bharath and National Security Minister Gary Griffith met with Daniela Tramacere, chargé d’affaires of the European Union Delegation to Trinidad and Tobago, along with the Heads of Mission of EU Member States resident in Trinidad and Tobago including: Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom; and France. 

The talks were held in the context of Article 8 (1) of the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which calls for the Parties to, “…regularly engage in a comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue, leading to commitments on both sides”. The last such political dialogue was held on December 18, 2013.

The release also disclosed Dookeran opened the discussions by extending condolences to France on the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, in which seventeen (17) persons were killed and others injured. 

“The Minister joined the international community in condemning the acts and expressed the belief that such atrocious acts had brought about a new global resolve in the fight against terror,” the release said. 

Other issues included recent political and economic developments in Trinidad and Tobago and the EU, trade and investment, development cooperation and the environment. The issue of crime and security was highlighted. Human rights protection and good governance issues were discussed. 

“The EU in turn underscored Trinidad and Tobago as one of its most important partners in the Caribbean stating that it looked forward to a strengthened partnership based on mutual interests and values,” the release said. Participants also discussed collaboration in multilateral fora including the upcoming EU-CELAC Summit to be held in June 2015. 

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