Press Advisories

21. 5. 2012 23:50

Prime Minister: Abolish the visa requirement for Czechs traveling to Canada

Prime Minister Petr Nečas has met with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper in Chicago prior to the NATO summit.

Prime Minister Petr Nečas has met with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper in Chicago prior to the NATO summit on 20th May 2012.The main topics discussed by the premiers included the visa requirement for Czech nationals traveling to Canada and issues surrounding the signature of the Canada-EU free-trade agreement.

"I have told Prime Minister Harper on numerous occasions that we disagree with the imposition of the visa requirement, and I demanded that this issue be resolved. The prime minister has assured me that a bill reforming the Canadian asylum system would be tabled in the Parliament by the end of the first half of this year, and that the bill would introduce a policy of safe countries of origin, that is countries from which Canada would not accept asylum seekers," said the Czech prime minister following the meeting.

The prime ministers also discussed the ratification of the trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. "We advocate strongly the liberalization of trade and the creation of a free-trade zone with Canada, the US, Japan, South Korea, and other regions. I considered it necessary, however, to inform respectfully the Canadian prime minister that in a situation where no changes have taken place regarding the visa requirement, a number of problems may be encountered during discussions concerning this agreement in the Czech Republic, including difficulties with its ratification in the Parliament, which is entirely understandable from the political viewpoint," added the Czech prime minister.

Canada reintroduced the visa requirement three years ago because of an increase in the number of asylum seekers from the Czech Republic. Since then, the issue has marred relations between the two countries.

At this point, the prime minister declined to estimate when the visa requirement could be abolished saying that there will be no timetable for the relevant actions in the Canadian law until it is passed by the Canadian Parliament. "It is very likely that a certain period of time will be required before the process is completed," said the Czech prime minister. "However, yesterday would have been too late," he added.

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