President Klaus Iohannis met on Saturday with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko on the sidelines of the International Munich Security Conference, reiterating on the occasion the support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and stressing the importance of the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements for the crisis settlement.
All right, so Poroshenko and Klaus met in Munich and discussed a few things, including Poroshenko being invited to visit Romania this year. So what’s the big deal about that?
Well, have a look at the official Romanian state media press release.
Whether you read the English or the Romanian versions, they both are missing a key bit of information!
President Poroshenko and President Klaus agreed to speed up the process for signing a bilateral agreement on abolishing the need to pay for visas. Right now Ukrainians must pay 55 dollars to acquire a visa to visit Romania.
I did a search of all Romanian reports on the matter and found not one mention of this plan to abolish visa payments for Ukrainians wishing to enter Romania. Not one! And nothing in English anywhere either.
And just in case you think Russian “propagandists” added that little extra bit of important information, here is the same information from the English-language version of the official Ukrainian presidential website.
Right now, Romanians can enter Ukraine for up to 90 days as a tourist without a visa while Ukrainians need to pay (and be approved) even for a tourist visit. So this “abolition of visa fees” is being called “bilateral” but really is of benefit only to Ukraine.
Woah! Ukraine is, to put it mildly, in desperate straits. If this visa requirement gets lifted, it’s likely that many, many people from Ukraine will travel to Romania and potentially further on in the European Union.
This at a time when the Immigration Department just discovered 92 illegal immigrants in February alone, 12 of whom got the lights and siren VIP escort that I did to the border. And a total of 263 foreigners were given some kind of fine for overstaying their visas.
Considering how deeply unpopular migrants are in Romania, I’ve got to wonder exactly how intentional it is that the Romanian government neglected to mention this plan to open the door for millions of Ukrainians to enter the country.