Czech official: visas for Czechs to Canada could be lifted in several months|
The Czech deputy interior minister, Lenka Ptáčková Melicharová, has said
that Canadian visas for Czech nationals could be lifted in several months.
She made the comment on Friday after a meeting between EU interior ministers
in Brussels, saying that if Canada did not resolve the visa issue - which
has been heavily criticised by Prague - the Czech Republic could block the
ratification of a trade agreement being negotiated between Canada and the
Ms Ptáčková Melicharová stressed, however, that her comments
were her personal opinion. Ottawa unilaterally reintroduced visas for Czechs
last July, after almost two years of visa-free relations, opting for the
move after receiving a disproportionately high number of applications from
Czech asylum seekers – many from within the Roma community. Canada also took
similar steps back in 1997. Under pressure from Prague and Brussels, Canada
has reportedly begun implementing changes to its asylum system, but the
process could reportedly take several years to complete.