Citizens of Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago may now travel visa-free to Schengen area countries, following the signing of a short-stay visa waiver agreement between the EU and seven Caribbean and Pacific states.
The signing ceremony took place on the margins of the Council Meeting between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of states and the European Union in Brussels on Thursday.
Grenada's foreign minister, Dr Clarice Modeste Curwen, in delivering her remarks at the signing ceremony, hailed the occasion as a "historic one, and a major achievement in the relationship between our islands and the European Union."
According to the minister, "New frontiers have now been opened in a number of areas, including business and tourism, for the peoples of Caribbean, Pacific and the EU states."
"The reciprocity agreement has been a long time coming," said Modeste-Curwen, "and is a monumental step in promoting ease of travel and freedom of movement, and Grenada is quite grateful to be a partner in this agreement."
Citing the beauty and safety of the region, the minister expressed her hope that the people who this agreement serves will do it justice and remain above reproach, so as to maintain the good relationships.
Welcoming the Caribbean and Pacific states to the ceremony was the EU Commissioner responsible for home affairs, migration and citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulous, who stated that the signing ceremony indicates a commitment to good relations and the further strengthening of the bonds among the people of the EU and the ACP group of countries.
The other signatories also expressed their delight over the materialization of the visa waiver agreement, and acknowledged the hard work and long road it took to arrive at this point.
They all echoed the sentiment that the agreement will revolutionize travel across the different regions.
The policy agreement means that citizens of the Caribbean and Pacific states can now enter visa-free into countries of the European Union, for short stay periods of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Citizens of the EU also now have the same privilege in the ACP countries identified under the visa waiver agreement.