China, EU sign short stay visa waiver deal

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China and the European Union (EU) on Monday signed a reciprocal short stay visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic passports.

Chinese tourists take souvenir pictures of the Eiffel tower on March 27, 2013 in Paris. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese tourists take souvenir pictures of the Eiffel tower on March 27, 2013 in Paris. [Photo/Xinhua]

This agreement will allow visa free travel to the EU for citizens of China holding a diplomatic passport for stays up to 90 days (within any 180-day period) as well as for EU citizens travelling to China and holding a diplomatic passport or an EU laissez-passer.

The agreement will not apply to the United Kingdom and Ireland. And the agreement will provisionally enter into force on the third day following the date of signature.

EU Commissioner for Migration, EU Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said ahead of the signing of the agreement that this is an important agreement not only because it is the first international agreement between the EU and China in the field of home affairs but also because it represents an important step towards greater cooperation on issues of mutual concern, especially in the areas of migration and mobility.

Yang Yanyi, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, said at the signing ceremony that the signing of the agreement undoubtedly marks a concrete step in visa facilitation and commits the two sides to work together more closely to broaden and deepen the cooperation, and help further negotiations so as to provide facilitation for the greater public to travel between China and the EU.

In the past year, among the 120 million outbound Chinese tourists, 2.5 million paid visits to Europe.

Representatives of the European Commission and the Dutch EU Council Presidency also attended the signing ceremony.

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