Guyana accuses EU of discrimination on visa-free travel decision

first_imgForeign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge has expressed his disappointment over the approach taken by representatives of the European Union in dealing with Guyana being left out from those Caribbean countries that have been granted visa-free entry status to the 26 countries in Europe that fall under the Schengen Area.Back in 2015, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines joined Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados and St Kitts and Nevis as Caribbean countries granted visa-free travel to Schengen Member States and associated countries.According to Minister Greenidge, this issue was a strong point made on Monday during the Sixth Round of EU-Guyana Political Dialogue under the framework of Article 8 of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP)-EU Cotonou Agreement.“We have expressed concern, if not alarm, about the treatment of Guyanese asForeign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidgeregards the visa-free entry into Schengen … We believe this was discrimination,” the Minister posited during a press conference at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday.Moreover, he outlined that the EU has not put forward any reasons why Guyana was not given the same visa-free travel status.“As a matter of fact, as far as we can see from the criteria they used, Guyana falls squarely amongst those countries that don’t pose a risk and, therefore, it shouldn’t be treated differently,” the Foreign Affairs Minister asserted.On this note, Greenidge further expressed his dissatisfaction over the approach adopted in addressing the issue.“We heard from Miss [Federica] Mogherini, who is the High Representative of Foreign Affairs and the Vice President of the European Council, that they are not now going to look at Guyana until a new council comes into office. In other words, [they’re] kicking it down the road or kicking it into the tall grass, depending on how you look at it, which makes us extremely unhappy,” the Foreign Affairs Minister noted.The 26 countries under the Schengen Area are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Minister also disclosed that during Monday’s meeting with the EU delegation, other consular matters were raised.According to Greenidge, the EU is seeking the treatment of its mission here as an international agency as oppose to a foreign state as currently obtains.“They are seeking additional concessions as regards treatment in that regard. We’ve indicated to them that we hear them, but we’re still looking at that matter,” Greenidge said.As part of the Sixth Round of EU-Guyana Political Dialogue, which was headed by EU Ambassador Jernej Videti? and Ambassadors of the United Kingdom, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden, the delegation is having talks with the various Government Ministries and key agencies.The objectives of the Dialogue are to exchange information to foster mutual understanding and to facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas, in particular by recognising the existing links between the different aspects of the relations between the parties and the various areas of cooperation as laid down in the Cotonou Agreement.last_img read more