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Visa facilitation accord for EU becomes reality 14 Mar�o 2012

Negotiations within the framework of the Partnership for Mobility between Cape Verde and the European Union have been concluded after two years of discussions, with Cape Verde managing to make the long-awaited visa facilitation accord a reality. In order for the accord to be accepted by the EU, Cape Verde had to accept the repatriation of Cape Verdean citizens living illegally in the European Community space. The announcement was made Tuesday, March 13, during the eighth meeting of the local follow-up group for the Cape Verde-EU Special Partnership.

Visa facilitation accord for EU becomes reality

The Cape Verdean government and the representatives of the European Community announced that technical negotiations within the context of the Partnership for Mobility have been concluded and that the signing of the final accord is expected to take place before the end of the year.

At cause is the facilitation of visas for all Cape Verdean citizens, including levels of differentiation for certain professional categories. For example, users of state service or diplomatic passports will be exempt from visas, and professional categories such as business executives, journalists or union representatives will be given multi-entry visas with a duration of up to five years.

For Cape Verdean citizens in general, visas will have a duration of one year, which, if used correctly, may be extended in the future.

Repatriation

But these benefits have a condition: Cape Verde had to accept the repatriation of Cape Verdean nationals living illegally in the European Union, despite the Cape Verdean government’s initial reluctance to agree to the condition at the beginning of negotiations.

Cape Verde’s State Secretary of Foreign Affairs, José Luís Rocha, says, however, that the government “will not close the door to Cape Verdeans wishing to or who have to return to the country.” According to Rocha, he government’s reticence had to do with citizens of other nationalities.

In this case, exceptions are made “when the person in question proves that Cape Verde was his or her final point of departure before arriving in the European Union.” “What we agreed to is that whenever there nationals of other countries are repatriated, they will be repatriated, as a priority, to their countries of origin,” added José Luís Rocha.

Asked if the accord involves the construction of shelters or centers for repatriated citizens, Rocha replied with a vehement no. “What we could do is consider the existence of support rooms in the country’s airports for people in transit who are in an irregular situation, which is something that’s done internationally,” he explains.

Josep Coll, the European Union ambassador in Cape Verde, reinforced this position, saying that “here, such camps will never be a reality. Maybe in other countries, but here this is something that will never happen.” He also added that “the repatriation cases of Cape Verdeans themselves will be very rare,” and ruled out, in both cases, the mass repatriation of immigrants.

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