EU set for visa facilitation talks

The European Commission has recommended that the European Union\'s Council approve a mandate for the beginning of talks with Belarus on visa facilitation and readmission agreements...

 

The European Commission has recommended that the European Union's Council approve a mandate for the beginning of talks with Belarus on visa facilitation and readmission agreements, said the press office of the EU Delegation to Belarus, BelaPAN said.

The European Commission suggests that the bloc's member states consider specific proposals for simplifying visa procedures for Belarusian citizens, in particular an easier procedure of obtaining a long-stay multiple-entry visa, free visas or lower visa fees for certain groups of people, limited visa processing times and the possible abolition of the visa requirement for holders of diplomatic passports.

The visa facilitation agreement would introduce a more predictable and transparent visa procedure and cut visa fees in half for Belarusians.

"At the same time, the agreements will secure legal grounds for the return of citizens illegally staying in the EU to their native country," the press office said.

Stefan Fule, the European Union’s commissioner for enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, said during his visit to Minsk on Monday that work on the draft visa facilitation agreement could begin later this month, while work on the readmission accord could start in December.