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Opinions & Interviews

13 Apr 2015

Good prospects for liberalization of Belarus-EU visa rules

BREST, 13 April (BelTA) – There are good prospects for easing up visa regulations between the European Union and Belarus, BelTA learned from Maira Mora, head of the European Union delegation in Belarus, after her meeting with representatives of the Brest Oblast administration on 13 April.

Asked about promising avenues of cooperation, Maira Mora said: “Facilitating the visa regime is the first thing that needs to be improved. And I see prospects for that in the near future. The physical ability to come to visit each other means a lot. In view of this it is necessary to improve the border infrastructure, reduce queues at the border, and improve its crossing capacity.”

The head of the European Union delegation said she was confident that the matter will be resolved in a favorable manner. “I think that the negotiations will end and we will be able to sign this document. It is true that a lengthy ratification process will follow. Not on the part of Belarus but on the part of the European Union. Because you have one parliament ratifying the document while we have 28 parliaments,” said Maira Mora.

Ambassador of Lithuania to Belarus Evaldas Ignatavicius said he shared the view of the head of the European Union delegation in Belarus. “I think there is a great probability of reaching the agreement. Virtually everything has been completed to make it happen. We still differ about some details such as the quality of documents and other technicalities. But I think that political will is going to be decisive and positive. We will advance in this direction,” said the Ambassador.

Evaldas Ignatavicius also noted that Lithuania and Poland are trying to ease up visa regulations on a bilateral basis. In particular, the embassies of these countries have greatly increased the number of long-term, two-year and free visas available to Belarusians. “Certainly, we would like the visas to at least become cheaper,” noted Evaldas Ignatavicius.

The agreement on visa liberalization between Belarus and the European Union may be initialed during the Riga summit of the Eastern Partnership Initiative in May.

On 13 April ambassadors of a number of European Union member states led by head of the European Union delegation in Belarus Maira Mora met with top officials of the Brest Oblast administration. The delegation included 15 diplomats, who went to Brest Oblast on a fact-finding tour. Representatives of the European countries visited OAO Savushkin Product, the memorial complex Brest Hero Fortress, and the border checkpoint Peschatka.

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