Friday, September 21, 2007

Romania, Bulgaria waive visa requirement for Brunei

Nurkhayrul Salam
The Brunei Times


BULGARIAN and Romania governments have waived visa requirements for the Bruneians wishing to visit the two countries for stay not exceeding 90 days.

With the accession of Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union (EU) at the start of this year, the two countries adopted an amendment which allows foreign nationals (holding a valid passport) from certain countries to enter the country under limited conditions and, for a limited time, without first obtaining a visa.

The visa waiver permits nationals from designated countries to enter the country for 90)days or less as business or vacationing visitors.

Citizens of Brunei Darussalam are entitled to the same visa waiver in all EU countries, except for Ireland and United Kingdom, that have separate visa arrangements with the sultanate.

Even so, Bulgarian and Romanians will still have to apply for visas to enter the sultanate.

Currently there are no clarifications from the Bruneian authorities as to whether the two countries will be able to enjoy the same 30 day visa waiver that other EU countries are entitled to.

In this case, Bulgaria and Romania also face a situation of non-reciprocity entry waivers with Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Singapore and USA.

Romania's list extended further to notify the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay and USA.

Bulgaria and Romania, both located in southeastern Europe, on the Black Sea, celebrated their entry into the European Union, 17 years after the fall of Communism in 1989.

Romania, with a population of approximately 22 million, became the EU's seventh-largest member.

Bulgaria with a population of 7.7 million is far smaller in size. Bulgaria export commodities are clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment as well as fuels.

Industry plays a key role in the Bulgarian economy.

Although Bulgaria is not very rich in reserves of oil and gas, it is a major producer of electricity and the most important exporter in the region due to the Kozloduy nuclear power plant with a total capacity of 2000 MW and construction for its second plant, the Belene nuclear power plant, currently underway.

Meanwhile, Romania's main exports are clothing and textiles, industrial machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, metallurgic products, raw materials, cars, military equipment, software, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and agricultural products.

Romania currently ranks 49th out of 175 economies in the ease of doing business, scoring higher than other countries in the region such as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Additionally, the same study judged it to be the world's second-fastest economic reformer in 2006.

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