Czech Republic sees itself as winner of US visa row with EU
(dpa) - The Czech Republic sees itself as a winner of the row with the European Commission over Czech-US deal on visa-free travel to the United States, CTK news agency reported Friday, citing Czech officials.
"It was not discussed at all (at the EU summit). That is a success of the Czech diplomacy," CTK news agency cited Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek as saying during the EU summit in Brussels.
Prague was the first new EU member to defy bloc's common policy on travel to the US by signing a document with Washington in late February that paves way for Czechs to travel to the US without visas in return for tighter air security.
Topolanek said that the commission acknowledged the legitimacy of the highly-contested Czech solo move.
"I consider that a big victory. Other countries following us prove that we chose the right way," he said.
Estonia and Latvia signed their own agreements on visa-free travel with the US on Wednesday, while Slovakia planned to follow within days.
On Thursday, EU and US officials agreed during visa talks in Slovenia on a so-called twin-track approach to the issue, which would allow EU members to negotiate directly with the US alongside the EU- US talks on the matter.