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Opinions & Interviews

7 Dec 2018

Poland ready to facilitate entry to EU for Belarusian citizens

Poland ready to facilitate entry to EU for Belarusian citizens
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MINSK, 7 December (BelTA) - Poland is ready to facilitate entry to the EU for Belarusian citizens, Renata Szczech, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Interior and Administration of Poland, said following the session of the Belarusian-Polish intergovernmental commission on coordinating transboundary cooperation in Minsk on 7 December, BelTA has learned.

According to the Polish official, the deepening of relations between Belarus and Poland will lead to other, very important projects for the development of border infrastructure. This will also increase the economic and tourist potential of the frontier regions.

Renata Szczech expressed words of appreciation to Belarus for the facilitation of the visa requirements. “On our part, the government of Poland is ready to facilitate the entry to the European Union for Belarusian citizens,” she said.

For his part, Belarus Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Evgeny Shestakov noted that Belarus once again asked for Warsaw’s support in the negotiations with Brussels on the early conclusion of the visa facilitation and readmission agreement. “On our part, we have consistently been relaxing our visa requirements for nationals of more than 80 countries, including EU countries and, of course, Poland,” he said.

Evgeny Shestakov recalled that Polish nationals may visit Belarus without visas for up to 30 days in Belarus provided they fly in through the Minsk National Airport. “In our view, this non-discriminatory measure allows all citizens of Poland, not only residents of the frontier regions, to visit Belarus. Besides, once the agreement on mutual visa recognition with the Russian Federation, which is to be signed shortly, takes effect, third-country nationals, including Polish citizens, will be able to go transit to Russia by road,” the deputy minister said.

Belarus views the mechanism of the special intergovernmental commission as one of the key tools in promoting dialogue between specialists of the two countries to coordinate actions on the development of frontier regions of Belarus and Poland. This mechanism also helps secure the normal functioning of the border, which is also the border of the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, prevent disasters, develop the belt of good neighborly relations. It also contributes to the regional stability in Central and Eastern Europe.

Belarus and Poland are working to sign about ten agreements on cross-border matters. “We will do our best to ensure they take effect in the coming years. This will help create a legal framework to upgrade border infrastructure, and, thus, improve the trade, economic and investment climate in the frontier areas, enhance the transit potential of our countries,” the deputy minister said.

Belarus showed interest in attracting resources from the European funds to implement promising projects, including the ones under the Poland-Ukraine-Belarus Cross-Border Cooperation Program for 2014-2020.

The intergovernmental commission signed a protocol that will serve as a program document for the coming year. The document envisages specific measures to ensure the functioning of the state border and its infrastructure, the adoption of international legal acts regulating the activity of border checkpoints, joint actions aimed at preventing and mitigating emergency situations, and also efforts to enhance the activities of the border regions of Belarus and Poland.

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