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The EU invited Belarus to sign agreement on simplification of visa regime

ЕС предложил Беларуси подписать соглашения по упрощению визового режима

The EU has offered Belarus to sign agreement on visa facilitation and readmission in January in Brussels. This is stated in the press release published following the meeting of the Belarusian-European coordinating group.

The EU delegation was led by Luke devine, Deputy managing Director for Europe and Central Asia of the European external action service. The European Commission was represented by Lawrence Meredith, Director of Eastern neighborhood and institutional construction, as well as representatives of many branch offices of commissions. The Belarusian delegation was headed by Deputy foreign Minister Oleg Kravchenko, which included representatives of branch ministries and departments. As before, experts and representatives of Belarusian non-governmental organizations also participated in some parts of the meeting and exchanged views with delegations.

The participants of the meeting welcomed the relevant decisions made by the President of Belarus and the EU Council with the permission of the signing of both agreements. They discussed the details of the final procedural steps necessary for the conclusion and entry into force of the agreements. After signing the agreement, the texts should be approved respectively by the European Parliament and the National Assembly of Belarus.

As it became known TUT.BY from sources in diplomatic circles, on 19 December, the EU Council adopted a decision on the signing by Belarus of the agreement on readmis. But for the entry into force it shall be published in the Official journal of the EU.

The EU recalled that on 2 February 2020 will enter into force on the revised Visa code of the EU, which, among other changes, will increase visa fees worldwide, including in Belarus. However, the EU also noted that this increase will be temporary only until the entry into force of the Agreement on simplification of visa regime. Then the visa fee will automatically be reduced from 80 to 35 euros for all citizens of Belarus. In addition, it provides for increased numbers of travelers the opportunity to apply for a Schengen visa and obtain a multiple-entry visa with longer validity period (up to 5 years).

And then what?

The Council of the European Union has approved the signing of the agreement on simplification of visa regime (mid-October) and the signing of the agreement on readmission. The next important step is the signing of agreements on visa facilitation and readmission agreements. After the signing of both agreements, the European Parliament must give consent to their conclusion, and then the Council of the European Union should take decisions about their detention.

“We cannot name the date when the agreement will enter into force, but we do our best to make it happen as soon as possible” — said TUT.BY the EU delegation in Belarus.

What will the agreement on visa facilitation?

We will remind, the project of the Treaty “decision on the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Belarus on facilitation of issuance of visas” was prepared on 30 August, but appeared in the database of normative acts of the EU on 18 September.

The project is a regulatory document for the conclusion of the agreement.

The agreement on visa facilitation involves reducing the cost of visas to 35 euros, and decision on visa applications within 10 days (if additional testing time can increase up to 30 days).

Now everything depends on the time of signing the agreement. After the signing of the agreement by all parties it will enter into force on the first day of the second month following the exchange of instruments of ratification.

However, in February 2020, will start to operate new rules of issuance of visas the European Union. Even if all documents will be signed in January, and held an exchange of instruments of ratification, the Belarusians for the visa is 60 euros (that’s worth so much to us, “the Schengen area” now) or instead of 35 euros (as much visa will cost after the adoption of the agreement with the EU) will have to pay 80 euros. And on the cost of the “Schengen area” for Belarusians will be reduced.

Recall that the signing of the agreement on simplification of visa regime that will allow Belarusians pay for Schengen 35 euros, the possibility of the arrival in Minsk of the former representative of the EU for foreign Affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini. But the visit was postponed because of the “specific overlap”.

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