Belarus, EU seal visa agreement

The Belarusian president, Aleksander Lukashenko, will sign an agreement on visa facilitation with the European Union, fixing visa prices for Belarusians at 35 euros, BelarusFeed has reported.

“The right of citizens to apply for visas through both visa centres and consular offices will be ensured. The readmission agreement (return of irregular migrants to their countries) will establish a two-year transitional period for third-country nationals,” said Belarusian foreign ministry spokesperson Anatoly Glaz.

“We are currently waiting for the signal from our European partners about the completion of necessary procedures on their behalf. After that we will specify the modes of signing the agreements,” Belarusian state news agency Belta quoted Mr Glaz as saying.

The agreement submitted by the European Commission will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the European Council.

The Belarusian press reported that the agreement could be signed during the a visit to the country by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini later this autumn.

Belarus and the EU have been negotiating a visa waiver agreement for a year. If the agreement is signed, Belarusians will be able to apply for visas at 35 euros instead of the current 60 euros, avoiding an increase in visa prices to 80 euros as set by a recent modification of the EU’s visa code. The deal also provides for a simplified visa facilitation process and exemptions.