A statement from PM Loughman said the EU Visa Waiver arrangements are a vital element in the success of the Citizenship Programme.
He said the Vanuatu Government acknowledges that there is merit in the concerns raised by the EU and understands that it is natural for the EU to raise concerns given the Bilateral Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Vanuatu on Visa Waiver arrangements.
The Prime Minister has written to the President of the European Commission to assure him that the Government remains steadfast in its commitment to work in close collaboration with the EU via enhanced dialogue with a view to significantly mitigate those concerns.
A Special Task force has been established with a mandate to guide the Government on steps to take and to understand the rationale of the propositions by the EU. The steps will also include further measures to make amendments to the necessary legislation including those that will address the change of names and other such changes to improve the credibility of its security and due diligence verification systems.
“The Vanuatu government remain confident that timely and realistic measures will be introduced to address the concerns of this program once the enhanced dialogue between the Vanuatu government and the European Union is established.
“The Vanuatu Government equally requests the European Union to expedite diplomatic clearances of its nomination of the Vanuatu Ambassador to the EU. The Vanuatu Ambassador to the EU will be Vanuatu's leading figure in the Europe Union to ensure amicable negotiations are conducted in order to address these concerns”.
The Government said it looks forward to a continued understanding with the EU in order to jointly address the lingering concerns.
It confirmed that, the agreement with the CS Global signed by the Chairman of the Citizenship Commission cannot be executed in its current form as it lacks prior endorsement from the Council of Ministers.
The Council of Ministers had agreed in December 2021 that it is necessary to have independent international organizations with experiences in citizenship and immigration programs to assist the Vanuatu Government improve its citizenship programme.
Photo file Caption: Vanuatu Prime Minister Bob Loughman