Prague asks EU to activate procedure aimed at imposing visa requirement on
Canadians for all EU states|
The Czech Republic has officially asked the European Union to activate a
procedure which could in theory lead to the whole of the EU imposing a visa
requirement on Canadians. The move came in response to Ottawa’s decision to
introduce a visa requirement for Czechs, following a rise in the number of
Czech Romanies applying for asylum in Canada. On Tuesday the European
Commission said it would not automatically impose a visa restriction on
Canadians in solidarity with the Czech Republic. A spokesperson said the
Commission regretted Canada’s decision and hoped it would be a temporary
The Czech government has recalled the country’s ambassador to Canada for
consultations and announced plans to impose visa requirements on Canadian
diplomats and civil servants.
Meanwhile, Canada’s ambassador to Prague, Michael Calcott, said the Czech
side had been informed of Ottawa’s decision on June 29, when the Canadian
immigration minister, Jason Kenney, was in the Czech capital. Mr Calcott
said he did not understand why the Czechs thought they had a chance of
changing that decision.
In the first half of this year Czech Romanies filed 1,720 asylum
applications in Canada, twice as many as for the whole of 2008. They say
they suffer discrimination in their home country, a claim backed by human
Canada introduced a visa requirement for Czechs in 1997 following an influx
of asylum seekers, before dropping the measure a decade later.