Thursday, December 1, 2011

Germany to shorten visa processing for Indonesians

Visiting German President Christian Wulff met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta on Thursday, as Germany plans to shorten the Schengen visa processing time for Indonesians wanting to visit the country and eurozone countries.

The German Embassy in Jakarta has announced its plan to cut its visa processing period from 12 to 3 days for Indonesians.

German Ambassador to Indonesia Norbert Baas said the policy to reduce the visa processing period would be implemented before Christmas this year.

The reason behind the policy was inseparable from the security and stability of Indonesia, which in the ambassador’s view had shown positive progress, especially in terms of reduced threats of terrorism.

After attending the meeting between the two leaders at the State Palace, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said that Indonesia had long since asked Germany for a reduced visa processing time.

According to Marty, the meeting between Yudhoyono and Wulff was concentrated on the future of bilateral relations between the two countries.

Germany and Indonesia have had a close relationship for 60 years.

In a joint press conference, Yu-dhoyono told reporters that Indonesia suggested five strategic cooperations with Germany, namely investment and trade, health, education, research and technology.

“In investment and trade cooperation, Indonesia has MP3EI [the Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development], and Indonesia invites Germany to be a strategic partner,” he said.

According to Yudhoyono, the volume of German trade in Indonesia is US$6 billion, an increase by 22 percent from last year.

Wulff said that Indonesia was a country that was consistent in maintaining its economic system.

“Next year, there will be many people from Germany coming to Indonesia to invest,” Wulff said.

He added that he was impressed with how Indonesia made its democracy and economy grow together.

Indonesia has enjoyed a close relationship with Germany in the past, when B.J. Habibie was a Cabinet minister, vice president and president.

Wulff’s visit was expected to revitalize the relationship between the two countries, although perhaps not to the levels seen during Habibie’s presidency.

“The Habibie era was a combination of what had been built up before. The fact that he studied in Germany and spoke German like a native German was really a boost,” Baas said on Wednesday.

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