Minsk is about to take all necessary measures to help Belarusians get cheaper EU visas, Andrey Savinykh, Chairman of the parliamentary commission for foreign affairs, said on the air of ONT. On January 8, the European Union and Belarus signed long-hoped-for agreements on visa facilitation and readmission.
“As far as I know, we [MPs] are ready to cooperate. We have already shown our readiness to ratify the agreement on a priority basis at the [upcoming] spring session that will kick off on April, 2. I think it will happen on its first or second day. I would not like to make premature plans, but it [ratification] will be done,” Savinykh stressed.
After the ratification by the House of Representatives, the two agreements are to pass the same procedure in the Council of the Republic, the upper chamber of the Belarusian parliament, and then be placed before President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. When all the issues are brought to a close, the parties will exchange notes. At the same time, the agreements will be submitted to the European Parliament for consent. The Council will then be able to formally conclude the ratification of both agreements.
“I think we have time to do everything by the end of April. The agreement includes quite a clear reference to the time of its entry into force, i.e. the first day of the second month [following conclusion]. Thus, it will be June, 1. So, we will be striving for that, it is a reasonable and achievable goal,” the MP said.
The visa facilitation agreement will make it easier for Belarusian citizens to acquire short-term visas to come to the European Union. As reported earlier, on 2 February 2020, the EU Visa Code will come into force according to which the visa fee will increase to €80. However, this increase is called temporary by the EU. After the agreement on visa facilitation enters into force, the visa fee for Belarusians will be automatically reduced from €80 to €35.