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Respekt in English14. 2. 20083 minuty

US visas as a test of priorities

The Czech Republic is embroiled in an interesting fight. It is not a matter of life and death, and the result may not bring any visible scars.

  • Autor: Respekt
• Autor: Respekt

The Czech Republic is embroiled in an interesting fight. It is not a matter of life and death, and the result may not bring any visible scars. But the latest global diplomacy test may reveal whether Czechs prefer their own prosperity to team work.

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US visas rank among the most frequently discussed topics in the Czech Republic. A recent visit by high-ranking US official Richard Barthe has suggested the visas will only last for a few months. But the visa issue now stirs dozens of diplomats west of the Czech border into motion, although the administrative obstacles to US entry in their countries were lifted years ago. After months of negotiations, the conditions of visa-free relations with the US are becoming clearer. And the change will affect all EU member states, not merely the Czech Republic.

What, then, is this all about? Under the new policy, tourists travelling to the US will be accompanied by an armed US guard. Each tourist will have to provide far more personal data, including biometric information. And perhaps the most important feature is a mandatory electronic application for a permit to enter the US, required for every single trip overseas.

In the context of these plans, the announced Czech victory in a battle over visa-free movement sounds less convincing. Let's disregard the feelings of average Czechs in this matter. The change has brought about a fundamental challenge for Czech diplomatic…

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