MINSK, 18 November (BelTA) - The EU Council has endorsed the decision to sign a visa facilitation agreement with Belarus, reads the resolution of the Council of the European Union published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
As BelTA reported earlier, in September Belarus completed the domestic procedures on the agreements with the European Union on visa facilitation and readmission. The head of state endorsed these documents. This step was preceded by a quite complex and time-consuming negotiation process with the European Union, which resulted in mutually acceptable texts that take the best interests of both sides into account.
The text of the resolution was published on the website of the EU Official Journal on 18 November. The decision was approved on 14 October.
In an interview with BelTA, Head of the European Union's Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel said: “The next major step is the signature of the two agreements. The Council of the European Union already authorized the signature of the visa facilitation agreement and is expected to authorize the signature of the readmission agreement once the procedures on the EU side are finalized. Once both agreements are signed, the European Parliament is to give its consent to the conclusion of the two agreements and then the Council of the European Union is to adopt decisions on the conclusion of the two agreements. The two agreements will enter into force simultaneously on the first day of the second month following the date on which the parties notify each other that the ratification procedures have been completed. Once the visa facilitation agreement has entered into force, the visa fee will be automatically reduced to 35 euros for all Belarusian citizens. Many categories of Belarusian citizens – depending on their travel purpose – will be able to have visa fee requirements waived and will be able to obtain longer-validity multiple-entry visas in a simplified manner.”
It is not yet known when the agreements will take effect.More about Politics