Belarus hopes that the agreement on visa facilitation and readmission will be signed by the 2019 year end. Belarus Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei stated this in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in Brussels on 13 May.
The ministerial meeting brought together EU foreign ministers and their counterparts from the EaP countries.
Belarusian FM V.Makei takes part in the #EasternPartnership Summit. This year #EaP celebrates its 10th Anniversary. A number of bilateral meetings are being held at the sidelines of the event. @beltanews @tutby pic.twitter.com/TylowlkBIh
— BY Mission Brussels (@BYinBrussels) May 13, 2019
“We are determined to keep building our relations with the EU. We are determined to get the Partnership Priorities signed. Unfortunately, this process was suspended and it was not our fault.
I hope that by the end of the year we will make progress with signing the agreements on visa facilitation and readmission,” Vladimir Makei said.
According to the minister, participants of the meetings will review the work of the EaP over the past ten years and plan for the coming. He also added that every union or bilateral relations have some rough edges.
Vladimir Makei believes that instead of focusing on the negative moments that take us apart it’s important to find some common ground overcome existing problems and build the relations.
“We will push for signing the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union.
We will discuss all these matters today. A series of bilateral meetings have been planned,” the minister stated.
Recall that Vladimir Makei represents Belarus at the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership instead of President Alexander Lukashenko who had been invited but didn’t come.
“The time will come and the president will be there. We cannot say yet that we have achieved a high level in our relations with the EU, some restrictions remain,” he said.
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A reminder, for almost five years, Minsk and Brussels have been discussing two agreements – simplifying of visa regime and readmission. Negotiations on these agreements have been “at the final stage” for several years now.
The second document is important for migrants and law enforcement agencies. Belarusians can’t wait for the first document to be signed, which provides for simplification of visa procedures.
After the agreement comes into effect, Schengen visas could become cheaper – €35 (when issued at the embassy), the number of free and long-term visas will increase.
The status of another pending document, Partnership Priorities, in negotiations with the EU is still unclear. Its signing was hindered by Lithuania which is against the BelNPP construction.