Friday, December 8, 2023

EU and Belarus sign visa and readmission agreements

Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei talks to the media during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Minsk, Belarus, 25 November 2019.

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On Wednesday, the European Union and Belarus signed an agreement on visa facilitation and readmission, after six years of negotiations, marking an important step in bilateral relations.
The agreement was signed in Brussels by the Croatian Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, the Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei.
It was the first agreement Croatia signed on behalf of the EU as its President.
“I’ve had the honour and the pleasure, together with Commissioner Johansson, to sign an agreement which will contribute to better and more intensive contact between EU member states’ citizens and Belarus,” said Bozinovic.
“These agreements will improve the mobility of our citizens and help build closer links between the EU and Belarus,” Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs said.
Belarus has the largest number of Schengen visas issued per capita and the lowest number of rejected visa applications.
The visa facilitation agreement which is the first step before the visa liberalisation, will make it easier for Belarusian citizens to acquire short-term visas to come to the European Union. Once entered into force, the deal foresees the reduction of the visa fee to €35 and a shortened deadline for the consulates to make a decision on the visa application.
It will apply to to all EU countries except for Britain and Ireland, as well as non-EU states Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
Both agreements will be submitted to the European Parliament for consent before the council ratifies them. Belarus’ National Assembly also has to ratify the agreements, which are expected to enter into force simultaneously, in June 2020.

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