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    Bulgaria, Romania Endorse CETA in Exchange for Visa-Free Regime With Canada

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    Canada will introduce a visa-free regime for Bulgaria and Romania in exchange for their endorsement of the CETA trade deal, according to the Bulgarian prime minister.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Bulgaria and Romania agreed on Friday to give green light to the European Union's Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada in exchange for written guarantees from Ottawa that both countries would obtain a visa-free regime with the country, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov told journalists in Brussels.

    "Together with the Romanian President [Klaus Iohannis], we received reliable confirmations in writing…  that, as of December 1, 2017, the visa regime for Canada will be abolished for all Bulgarians. Given this fact, we decided, with the Romanian President, to support the agreement with Canada like all other members of the EU,” Borisov told journalists on the sidelines of the European Council summit, as cited by the Novinite agency.

    Canada currently has a visa-free regime with all EU countries except Romania and Bulgaria. Sofia and Bucharest long insisted that they would veto CETA, to which that are not opposed in principle, because of the failure by Ottawa to lift the visa requirement for their nationals.

    Early in October, a spokesperson for the Canadian Foreign Ministry asserted to Sputnik that visa policy was not part of any of Canada’ s free trade agreements, and decisions on whether or not visas are necessary do not relate to trade.

    Despite resolving disputes with Bulgaria and Romania regarding their previous resistance to CETA, one major hurdle on the way of signing CETA still remains. Belgium French-speaking region Wallonia, whose regional parliament rejected the deal with Canada last Friday, still opposes this major trade agreement, thus effectively blocking the whole EU from signing it next week at the EU-Canada summit.

    To be signed CETA requires ratification in Europe’s 38 national and regional parliaments.


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