Unexpected hurdles pop up out of the blue as Belarus and EU negotiate visa liberalization, Belarus Foreign Minister told journalists on 1 March.
Vladimir Makei commented on the process of negotiations to simplify the visa regime between Belarus and the European Union and spoke about the difficulties with the signing of the basic agreement with the EU.
Difficulties arising from scratch
The European Union announced the rise of Schengen visa fee to €80. Will Belarus make it in time to sign the agreement on simplifying the visa regime and get visas for €35?
According to Vladimir Makei, the process is accompanied by new difficulties.
“We try to be in time, but the process is rather complicated. As I said, periodically new issues arise from scratch.
It seemed we have agreed on everything, then suddenly there came a demand to increase the number of diplomatic staff,” Makei said.
While Belarus and the European Union found a compromise on that issue, other nuances popped up, the minister added.
The agreement should be signed in conjunction with the readmission agreement. Problem is, Belarus also has a readmission agreement with Russia that does not favor the terms of the proposed readmission agreement with the EU.
“Russia does not agree to accept the illegal migrants who fled to the EU via Belarus back.
We have to agree on the mechanism for sending illegal migrants who must be returned to the territory of Belarus with the European Union. Such programs exist within the framework of Frontex (European Border and Coast Guard Agency – note), and we need the participation of the European Union,” said Makei.
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Negotiations on basic agreement stall “for political reasons”
For several years now, Belarus has been trying to start negotiations on a basic agreement on partnership and cooperation with the EU. The head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry believes that talks don’t “for political reasons”.
“We did not receive a response from the European Union to our proposal for a basic agreement,” was Makei’sbrief response to the question.
He added this is “the political position of individual states”.
According to the minister, human rights and the death penalty in Belarus also influence the position of “individual states”.
“All our policy, both external and internal, shows a willingness to find compromises,” Vladimir Makei concluded.