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Visa waivers for new EU states

20 September 2004 Media Statement

Visa waivers for new EU states

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that New Zealand is extending visa-free arrangements to six new European Union states, whose citizens have until now required tourist visas to visit New Zealand.

The waiver of tourist visa requirements will apply to travellers from Poland, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, from 1 April 2005.

"The decision means that citizens from all 25 EU states, including the six who have just been granted the waiver, will now have visa-free status. This completes the reciprocity of visa arrangements already in place for New Zealanders travelling to all members of the EU," said Helen Clark.

"New Zealand is only the second western country, after Japan, to grant visa waivers to all 25 EU member states."

"Granting visa free status reduces barriers to travel to New Zealand and enhances potential benefits from tourism, trade, and bilateral relations. New Zealand offers visa free status to more than 50 countries, and this contributes significantly to the economy."

"As the economies of the new EU member states grow, these countries are expected to provide useful markets for New Zealand goods and services. The new members will also have influence on EU decision-making in areas that affect New Zealand directly, such as trade policy." said Helen Clark.

ENDS

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