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"Mr President, this afternoon’s debate is neither new, nor is the issue limited to Romania, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria; it affects all Member States. These are the three affected countries today, but this could happen to any other on other occasions. This House, in fact, in its Declaration of 8 March 2011, has already asked the Commission to establish a new mechanism that will guarantee complete reciprocity for all Member States, ensuring that if a third country fails to reciprocate the visa regime, all Member States would enforce obligatory visa requirements for the citizens of that country. The principles of reciprocity and solidarity should guide the Union’s policy on visas, whilst also respecting, as is the case here, other debates on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada. Only this way will we achieve a visa policy that is robust, rigorous, credible, supportive and unified. In the same manner, I am also aware of the importance of the Union’s foreign relationships, as well as those of the individual Member States; and for that reason, there is a need to find the balance between respect for the principles of reciprocity and solidarity and European trade relationships. This issue, as you are aware, has been debated for almost a year within the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, via a proposal for the modification of Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001. This would lead to the establishment of a list of the third countries whose citizens require visas to cross borders and a list of third countries whose citizens are exempt from this requirement. I am the rapporteur for this legislative initiative. The exact objective of this proposal is to provide the Union with an effective and realistic mechanism to resolve conflicts such as those currently being experienced by Romanian, Czech and Bulgarian citizens with Canada. We began the trialogue negotiation stage with the Council a week ago, but I have a strong mandate when it comes to reciprocity. The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) is committed and calls for reciprocity. The stances of the three institutions and the Parliament are currently being aligned, but we are all aware of the urgency and the need to reach an agreement that satisfies the interests of all those concerned. Commissioner, I do not believe we can reach this agreement under the Danish Presidency. You are already aware that Parliament only says ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to an international agreement. I will say ‘no’ and will recommend that my political group says ‘no’ if Canada does not absolve the Czechs, Bulgarians and Romanians from the obligation, prior to the vote. Mr President, Mr Enciu makes a very solid and impeccable argument."@en1

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