Final Word from Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The eagerness of Czechs to enter the U.S. visa-waiver program is understandable,but the strategy of the Czech embassy in Washington for speeding up the process is less so. Instead of trying to take advantage of the possibilities under the newU.S. security law with regard to visa-refusal and visa-overstay rates, the embassy is vainly criticizing a law that won't be changed anytime soon. Yesterday, Amb. Petr Kolář told Euro OnLine that it would be absurd for Czechs to need visas at thetime of their rotating EU presidency in 2009. Perhaps this was meant to encourage the U.S. to implement its required air-exit system more rapidly. Or perhaps it was pressure on the U.S. embassy to make sure the CR's visa-refusal rate doesn't exceedthe 10% limit. But until Kolář gives concrete advice on how to facilitate the process, it will sound to us as though he's mainly using the visa issue to toot his own horn.[Czech Republic ambassador United States of America USA European Union]


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