The FINANCIAL — According to RIA Novosti, the U.S. introduced as of November 17 a visa-free regime for citizens of six countries that joined the EU in 2004, as well as for South Korea.
Under the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, nationals of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and South Korea do not require visas for trips of up to 90 days for business and tourism purposes.
The European Commission has repeatedly threatened to take retaliatory measures against the U.S. over Washington's refusal to extend visa-free travel to all 27 EU member states.
The two countries that joined the EU in January 2007 – Romania and Bulgaria – are not included in the program.
The new system will not benefit the so-called 'non-citizens' of Latvia and Estonia – about half a million people, mainly former Soviet citizens who have been denied citizenship since 1991.