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08 January 2020, 18:41

Belarus-EU visa facilitation agreement expected to come into force in June 2020

MINSK, 8 January (BelTA) – The agreements on facilitating visa requirements and on readmission may come into force in June 2020, representatives of the European Union Delegation to Belarus told BelTA.

The source said: “After the agreements were signed today, they will be forwarded for endorsement to the European Parliament. After that the Council of the European Union will be able to officially complete the ratification of both agreements. The Belarusian parliament will also have to ratify the agreements. The agreements may come into force in June 2020 (on the first day of the second month after signing). The agreements will come into force on the same day.”

Representatives of the European Union Delegation to Belarus noted that negotiations on facilitating visa procedures between the European Union and Belarus officially began in 2014. In February 2015 the Council of the European Union amended its directives on conducting negotiations to rule out the possibility of negotiations on a mutual visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports. During the sixth round of talks on 26 March 2019 the sides finally came to terms on both texts, which were initialed on 17 June 2019.

Certain progress has emerged in Belarus-EU relations in the last few years. Belarus takes an active part in multilateral formats of the Eastern Partnership Initiative. The Belarus-EU coordinating group convenes twice a year to guide cooperation and oversee further advancement of relations. The bilateral relations will grow stronger on the basis of priorities of the European Union's partnership with Belarus, which are now being discussed. It will determine the strategic framework of cooperation for the next few years, the source said.

Since 2006 the European Union has signed visa facilitation agreements with Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Northern Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, and Ukraine.

Official agreements on readmission or practical arrangements on return and readmission have been concluded with 24 countries.

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