Press Room

Foreign Minister Titus Corlăţean received US Chargé d’affaires a.i., Duane Butcher

Type: 
Press release
Date: 
01/15/13

Foreign Minister Titus Corlăţean received on 15 January 2013 the Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Embassy of the USA to Bucharest, Duane Butcher.

The discussion confirmed the close cooperation relations between Romania and the USA, the two officials agreeing it is important to further develop and deepen them, also through the agency of the Task Force on implementing the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century between Romania and the USA, adopted in Washington on 13 September 2011. In this respect, they converged on the need to materialize, in 2013, an agenda of high-level political and diplomatic contacts to take place both in Bucharest and in Washington.

The two interlocutors also highlighted, with satisfaction, the progress of the missile defense project according to schedule, as well as the importance of stepping up economic cooperation between the two states and of further boosting US investment in Romania.

Minister Titus Corlăţean also reiterated Romania’s particular interest in being included in the Visa Waiver program. In the context, he welcomed the announcement recently made by the US authorities that the rate of rejection of visa applications from Romanian citizens dropped to 17% in fiscal 2011-2012, which confirms the declining trend in recent years.

“I hope this trend continues in future, including as a result of the relevant working sub-group set up as part of the Task Force for the implementation of the Joint Declaration, which will first convene on 31 January 2013. This decline, combined with adoption of the bill on the agenda of the US Congress, which is aimed at altering the criteria for admission to the Visa Waiver program, would substantially contribute to attaining as soon as possible the goal of having the visa regime eliminated in the relationship with the USA,” said the Romanian Foreign Minister.

During the meeting, an evaluation was also made of the political developments in Europe, with a focus on the European perspectives of the Western Balkan states and of those in the Eastern neighbourhood of the EU.


Further information

The rejection rate in the case of visa applications filed by Romanian citizens was of 22.4% in 2011, 24.8% in 2010 and 26.3 %in 2009. The rejection rate remains the main obstacle to Romania’s inclusion in the VWP, as the maximum limit admitted by current US legislation is 3%.

The Task Force[1] is an inter-institutional mechanism designed to coordinate the complex process of implementing the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership for the 21st Century between Romania and the USA, adopted in Washington on 13 September 2011.

The Task Force first convened on 31 October 2012, when a list of projects was agreed upon, as priorities for the future work of the Task Force, and it was established that future meetings would be held half-yearly. Moreover, it was decided to set up a working sub-group on consular matters, including the visa issue, tasked with identifying the best ways to speed up Romania’s accession to the Visa Waiver program; the sub-group usually meets on a quarterly basis.

 

[1] The Task Force includes representatives of the following ministries: National Defense, Internal Affairs, Economy, Justice, Information Society, Culture, National Education, Regional Development and Public Administration, Public Finance, Transports, Foreign Affairs, as well as of the US Embassy in Bucharest.