Bolivia chases Schengen visa exemption

Sam Morgan for Euractiv:

Bolivia chases Schengen visa exemption

Bolivia wants visa-free travel for its citizens in the Schengen area and for Brussels to offer the same perks it does to other Latin American countries. EURACTIV Spain reports.

Bolivian minister Carmen Almendras told EFE that her country will “continue to talk until this agreement is reached” and insisted that “we are adopting international instruments requested by them (European authorities)”.

Almendras also announced that “Bolivia wants to move from a consular approach to one that encompasses a greater defence of the human rights of Bolivian citizens who reside abroad”.

Some two million Bolivians currently live outside of their homeland, particularly in neighbouring Argentina and Brazil, as well as in the United States and Spain.

Almendras, who was Bolivian ambassador to Spain between 2007 and 2015, acknowledged that the day-to-day situation of many of her compatriots has markedly improved in Spain, with 90% now in regular positions, compared with a decade ago, when 80% were irregular migrants.

The Bolivian minister admitted that ten years ago Bolivia was “highly vulnerable, due to the high percentage of undocumented workers”, a situation that has now changed somewhat.

Almendras highlighted a number of bilateral agreements that have been signed between Madrid and La Paz, including reciprocal deals on voting in municipal elections, driving licences and pension contributions.

She added that further bilateral agreements are in the pipeline with Argentina, with the hope of deepening integration and understanding. A Bolivian delegation hopes to secure the same with the United States.

The minister revealed that she has been surprised by the increase in requests for work visas from Spanish and other European citizens that want to come to Bolivia. Almendras insisted that this “is an indicator of our good level of bilateral relations”.

Currently, Bolivia’s many of South American partners, like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, do not require visas to enter the Schengen passport-free zone, thanks to bilateral agreements between Brussels and national capitals.

My opinion: I used to travel through Schengen countries without the need of a visa, including UK and Spain …. so, something went wrong to have ended up in this position … current government must restore this exemption!

Bolivian nationals are not this government’s ochlocracy and the majority of us, are not engaged in the coca-business … thus, we deserve better!

This government must send clear signals to the international community, such as: ending the ridiculous tax-visa to Americans and Israelis! People who came in great numbers and supported our tourism businesses …

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