Top Diplomat: Bulgaria Missed Moment for Lift of US VisasDiplomacy | February 4, 2012, Saturday // 16:18| views
Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, accused the previous cabinet of acting irresponsibly on the issue with lifting US visa regime for the country. Photo by BGNES
Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikolay Mladenov, regrets that the Bulgarian side "has slept through" the opportunity to lift the visa regime for the US.
Speaking in an interview for Darik radio Saturday morning, Mladenov accused the previous cabinet of acting irresponsibly on the issue. He pointed out that the former US Administration had lower criteria for the percentage of refused visas for Bulgarian citizens – a threshold for the country to request lifting the visa regime if the refusals would fall below it.
The second requirement had been to have biometric passports, which was not implemented at the time.
"Now we have the passports, but the threshold is higher," the Minister explained.
As a number of other senior officials, he assuaged fears from Bulgaria's signing the controversial, international ACTA agreement that could violate internet rights, saying it still has to be ratified by the country's Parliament.
"One can sell online and steal online; I advise those who sell to improve their ways," the Minister told the host.
On other subjects, Mladenov appealed for the end of violence in Syria, pointed out that a possible EU embargo on oil from Iran would not affect Bulgaria since it does not import oil from there, and informed that the last Bulgarian serviceman would leave Afghanistan in 2014.
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