On January 8, the European Union and Belarus have signed a visa facilitation agreement and a readmission agreement.
At the signing ceremony, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, together with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Croatia as Council Presidency, Davor Božinović, signed for the EU, while Belarus was represented by Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey.
“These agreements between the European Union and Belarus are a significant step forward in our cooperation. They will improve the mobility of our citizens in a well-managed and secure environment and help build closer links between the European Union and Belarus. From the European side, we will now move ahead rapidly with ratification procedures, so citizens can feel the benefits as soon as possible,” the Delegation of the EU to Belarus quotes Commissioner Johansson.
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.
Following today’s signature, 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. A ratification procedure is also required on the Belarusian side, through approval from Belarus National Assembly. The agreements could enter into force in June 2020 (on the first day of the second month following conclusion). Both agreements will enter into force on the same day.
belsat.eu, via eeas.europa.eu