European Commission is Interested in Easier Visa Rules for Belarusians, Offical Says

The European Commission is interested in easier Schengen visa formalities for Belarusian 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 Belarusian civil society organizations, ВelaPAN said.

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

In his letter to the NGOs, Mr. De Ceuster said that Belarus had agreed to start talks with the EU on visa facilitation and readmission agreements. If the talks are successful and the agreements are signed, Schengen visa fees will be lowered for Belarusians, 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 Belarusians last year were for multiple entries. A third of all Schengen visas were free, he stressed.

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


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