Belarus, EU to sign visa facilitation agreement this fall – Andrea Wiktorin

Belarus and the European Union are highly likely to sign the visa facilitation agreement in the autumn of 2019, Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, said in an interview with news agency BelaPAN.

“This morning, at a meeting with [Belarusian Foreign] Minister Makey, we talked about signing the agreement this autumn. The exact date has not been set yet – I need to leave some work for my successor,” the top diplomat said.

According to her, the negotiations on the agreement ended in June, and now its text is undergoing approval procedures in Belarus and the EU.

“I strongly believe that we will sign this document,” Andrea Wiktorin added.

During the events linked to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership in Brussels, Uladzimir Makey expressed hope that the agreement on visa facilitation would be signed before the end of the year. European Commissioner Johannes Hahn noted that the negotiations on this document were ‘more or less’ completed.

As reported earlier, the costs of Schengen visa processing will be increased from €60 to €80 on 2 February, 2020. The amendment will have a direct bearing on Belarusians. For the citizens of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, the fee will not change. They will continue to pay €35 for the visa — this amount is specified in the agreements of these countries with the EU to simplify the issuance of visas.

“This is a very unpopular measure. I think that our Foreign Ministry will do everything to tackle the issue of visa liberalization. By the end of 2019, a Schengen visa will cost Belarusians €35 instead of €80 or €60,” Vlad Vyalichka, General Director of International Consortium EuroBelarus, told Belsat.

If the agreement is signed, Schengen visas should go down in price to €35 for Belarusians (when issued at the embassy).

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