24 December 2015

European Parliament approves Visa Arrangement with Timor-Leste



ETLJB 24/12/2015 Government of East Timor Media Release  DIli, 16 December, 2015 - In Brussels overnight the European Parliament approved the short-stay visa waiver agreement between the European Union and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The agreement provides for visa-free travel for citizens of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the European Union when travelling to each other’s territories for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period. The visa waiver covers all categories of passport holders travelling for all kinds of purposes, except for the purpose of carrying out a paid activity and extends to all of the countries of the European Union except the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, as these two countries are not part of the “Schengen Area.”

On the 26th of May this year, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Roberto Sarmento de Oliveira Soares signed the agreement which had been operating up until now on a provisional basis pending last night’s approval of the Parliament.

The European Union Rapporteur’s Justification explained that the agreement “represents an opportunity to intensify economic relations and develop tourism” and highlighted Timor-Leste’s “very rapid and praiseworthy democratic stabilisation since gaining independence.” It also characterized the ongoing partnership between the European Union and Timor-Leste as being of “high quality” and said that the agreement represented “a culmination of the deepening of relations between the European Union and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.”

Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State, Agio Pereira noted “Timor-Leste appreciates the resounding vote in favor of the agreement last night and looks forward to the EU citizens it will encourage to visit us, as well as the new ease with which Timorese citizens will be able to enter the countries of the EU. The approval of the agreement by the Parliament reflects well on our diplomatic and political maturity, our economic progress and the capacity of our Immigration service, and is a vote of confidence recognizing our national stability, security and democratic values.” ENDS

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