Česky English Deutsch Francais
Czech Republic faces uphill battle to win EU-wide retort to Canadian visas
15-07-2009 - Chris Johnstone
The Czech Republic has pinned its hopes on the European Union for a forceful retort to Canada’s imposition of visas on Czech citizens. Prague has already officially lodged its demand that Brussels hits back with across the board visa requirements on Canadians. But the success of that demand looks far from certain.

As the Czech government smouldered with anger at Canada’s reintroduction of visas to stem a surge of, mostly Roma, asylum applications, Brussels offered sympathy but not much more.

The Czech demand for a tit-for-tat retort with the EU imposing visas across the board on all Canadians will certainly not be a swift revenge and could very well not materialise at all.

The box at the Canadian embassy in Prague for collecting visa aplications to be sent to Canadian embassy in Vienna, Austria, photo: CTK Rory Watson is a veteran Brussels-based EU journalist. He thinks Prague’s demand for solidarity from the EU’s other 26 member states looks doomed from the outset.

“Well, I think there will be considerable sympathy for the Czech concerns but I think that other countries will probably feel this is more a bilateral issue between the Czech Republic and Canada. And I think it will be very difficult to get a majority, or even all of the 27, to take measures against a country basically with which the EU has good relations and which the UK has traditional links”

Mr Watson says he cannot think of any precedents where EU countries have united to slap on visa requirements on another country because of local difficulties with one member. In the short-term, he sees the European Commission trying to play an honest broker in the soured relations between the Czech Republic and Canada and attempting to defuse the current situation.

Time-wise at least, revenge will be a dish that will have to be savoured cold, if at all, by the Czech Republic. The EU’s creaky procedures mean that officials at the European Commission will have up to three months to weigh up Prague’s request but have promised to report back in September. Then member states will have another three months to ponder their stance.

There is also another complication highlighted by the Czech press on Wednesday. The European-wide passport-free Schengen zone covers most EU countries as well as Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. These latter countries would also have to be brought on board for any meaningful reply against Canada.

With that sort of mathematics, united European action looks even more doubtful. So Prague is likely to be faced with a decision in around six months time whether to impose visas on Canadians on its own.

Related articles
14.11.2013Canada lifts visa requirements for Czech nationalsNews
18.10.2013Canadian PM confirms visa free entry for Czechs soonNews
17.10.2013Canada confirms lifting of visas for Czechs 'imminent'News
15.09.2010Nečas to raise question of Canadian visas for Czechs at EU summitNews
21.04.2010EU to call again on Canada to drop visa requirements for Czechs, Romanians and BulgariansNews
26.08.2009Amnesty International calls on Canada to drop visa requirements for CzechsNews
25.08.2009Amnesty International condemns Canada’s decision to reintroduce visas for CzechsNews
14.08.2009Canada rejects three visa applications in first monthNews
29.07.2009Z§vůle práva: Unsuccessful asylum seekers have somewhere to turnNews
28.07.2009Why did so many Czech Roma apply for asylum in Canada?News
28.07.2009EU voices solidarity with Czech Republic in light of Canadian visas, but does not discuss retaliationNews
27.07.2009Czech-Canadian visa war is the worst of bad solutionsNews
17.07.2009Airlines start vetting Czechs at Prague airportNews
16.07.2009None is too many: Asylum in Canada necessary until EU can guarantee safety for RomaNews
15.07.2009Czech tourists make last-minute dash to Vienna for Canadian visaNews
15.07.2009Prague asks EU to activate procedure aimed at imposing visa requirement on Canadians for all EU statesNews
15.07.2009ERRC Calls on Canada to Press Czech Republic on Anti-Romani DiscriminationNews
15.07.2009Swedish EU presidency backs Czechs in visa row with CanadaNews
14.07.2009Czech Republic hits back at re-imposition of Canadian visasNews
13.07.2009Canadian visas no longer imminent after EU raises threat of retaliationNews
13.07.2009Spinning the Exodus: Roma Refugees Smeared in Czech PressNews
13.07.2009Canada applies visa restrictions on Czechs, dashing hopes of speedy diplomatic solutionNews
13.07.2009Canada imposes a visa on the Czech RepublicNews
12.07.2009Czech Foreign Minister welcomes falling asylum applications in CanadaNews
01.07.2009Visa rumours spark fears as Canada threatens “measures” on Roma asylum-seekersNews
03.06.2009Footage of Czech Roma camping in Toronto airport fuels speculation visas may be reintroducedNews
16.04.2009Alarm as Canada receives more refugees from Czech Rep than Iraq, AfghanistanNews
01.12.2008Czech asylum claims "not a problem" says Canadian governor general in PragueNews
03.09.2008Canada's governor general plans visit to Brno Romani museum during Europe tripNews
20.02.2008Two US citizens facing deportation want to stay here with their familyNews
07.10.2003Donald Sparling - Professor of Canadian Studies at Masaryk University - compares Czech Roma and NatiNews
07.10.2003Donald Sparling - Professor of Canadian Studies at Masaryk University - compares Czech Roma and NatiNews
Czech official: visas for Czechs to Canada could be lifted in several monthsNews
Format for printing
Send as e-mail

Also in section "News"
31.10.19  Roma children’s choir Chavorenge and members of the Czech Philharmonic to perform in UK
13.09.19  Archaeologists discover graves of Roma persecuted during WWII in Lety camp
02.06.19  Ida Kelarová and her Romany children’s choir Chavorenge
29.05.19  Two Roma activists to receive Charter 77’s František Kriegel Award
07.04.19  Romany music from the Czech Republic
13.03.19  Czech singer Věra Bílá, dubbed the Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music, dies days before her comeback tour
21.11.18  Roma social worker from Ostrava listed on BBC 100 Women list
12.10.18  Why are there so few Roma politicians?
17.09.18  Virtuoso pianist Tomáš Kačo: When I tell somebody I’m a Gypsy in the US, they’re excited about it
06.06.18  Study indicates ethnic hate is contagious
Archive of the section

Most popular articles
3153053   26.02.00 Some Basic Information about the Roma Population in the Czech Republic
290319   27.01.05 The 'Devouring': A look at the Romani Holocaust
184516   26.02.00 The History and Origin of the Roma
141463   26.02.02 The Language of the Roma
107706   13.06.00 The History of the Roma Minority in the Czech Republic
105260   26.02.00 The Traditional Family Life of the Czech Roma
103929   02.06.03 The Roma Holocaust
88238    World famous Roma Personalities
88174   21.02.04 Extreme right activists demonstrate for skinhead in jail
74801    Photographs by Romani Children
Copyright © Český rozhlas / Czech Radio, 1997-2023
Vinohradská 12, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic