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Press release

MEPs adopt simplified regime for the control of visas in Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus

Justice and home affairs - 31-01-2008 - 11:23
Plenary sessions
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The European parliament gave the go-ahead for an extension of simplified controls of visas at the external frontiers of Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus. This system will enable these Member States to recognise unilaterally certain documents issued by Schengen zone countries for third country nationals making visits of less than five days.

As the Council of Ministers agreed last week on the amendments brought by the two reports, the path is now clear for an agreement in first reading.
MEPs adopted a legislative report from Michael Cashman (PES, UK) (558 votes in favour to 22 against and 19 abstentions) on a simplified regime for the control of persons at EU's external borders. The new system will enable Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus to recognise unilaterally visas or residence permits issued by any Schengen Member State for individuals making visits of less than five days.
Up till now, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus were required to issue specific national visas for entry or transit through their territory to third country nationals holding a valid visa or residence permit issued by any country of the Schengen area.
The new rules will be temporary and only affect Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus until they join the Schengen area.
MEPs adopted a second co-decision report, by Panayiotis Demetriou (EPP-ED, CY), by 571 votes in favour to 24 against and 26 abstentions. It will enable Member States belonging to Schengen to recognise unilaterally certain residence documents issued by Switzerland and Liechtenstein, also for transit purposes.
REF.: 20080129IPR19926