European Commission is Interested in Easier Visa Rules for Belarusans

The European Commission is interested in easier Schengen visa formalities for Belarusan citizens, Joannes De Ceuster, head of unit at the Directorate-General for the European Commission`s Home Affairs, said in reply to an appeal sent by a number of Belarusan civil society organizations, BelaPAN said.

The NGOs had petitioned the European Commission to simplify Schengen visa rules for the Belarusans.

In his letter to the NGOs, Mr. De Ceuster said that Belarus had agreed to start dialogue with the EU on visa facilitation and readmission agreements. If the dialogue is successful and the agreements are signed, Schengen visa fees will be lowered for the Belarusans, while some groups will be exempted from visa fees altogether, he said.

Mr. De Ceuster wrote that 47 percent of all Schengen visas issued to the Belarusans last year were for multiple entries. One third of all Schengen visas were free, he stressed.

Alena Kupchyna, Belarus` Deputy Minister of foreign affairs, stayed in Brussels on January 29-30 to discuss the subject of visa facilitation with the EU officials.


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