Photo: European visas
The agreement is a “verbal political decision” that was reached in Strasbourg by the European Parliament, Council and Commission, and must be ratified by the Permanent Representatives Committee, after which the official announcement will be made in Brussels on Wednesday.
“The decision adopted today ratifies the political will of the EU to eliminate the visa requirement for Colombians and gives a green light to beginning the legislative process that will allow the measure to be implemented in the near future,” the bloc’s ambassador to Colombia, Maria Antonia van Gool, said in a communique.
The elimination of the visa requirement for Colombians and Peruvians to visit the Schengen Area, made up of 26 European countries, was proposed last August by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
The date when the decision will take effect has not yet been decided.
“Unfortunately we still cannot give an exact date when it will be possible to enter Schengen Area countries without a visa because it is still necessary to pass legislative and institutional measures,” Van Gool said.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has hailed Rajoy’s initiative on several occasions and has insisted on the need to elminate the visa requirement.
The Schengen Area comprises 22 of the 28 countries of the European Union: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Greece, along with non-members Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.