EU pushes for suspension of Vanuatu visa-waiver programme


An advisor to the Vanuatu government says the European Commission is pushing through with a suspension of its visa-waiver programme with the Pacific country despite concessions made by the government.

The European Commission proposed to make the temporary suspension permanent late last week, threatening an end to Vanuatu citizens’ ability to visit the EU visa-free.

It follows longstanding concerns that Vanuatu’s passports-for-sale program is being used to facilitate financial crime.

Vanuatu’s Special Envoy for International Development, Glen Craig, who has previously led an inquiry into the passports scheme, said the work done by Vanuatu officials had fallen on deaf ears. “We danced to the drum of EU and we put in a lot of what they wanted … most things were done but they just came back asking for more,” he said.