Belarus FM Reveals Obstacles That Prevent Simplification Of Visa Regime With EU

In June officials announced progress in visa talks with the EU, which gave Belarusians hope of reduction of Schengen visa fee to €35 next year. However, simplification of visa regime is not as simple as it seems, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei told journalists last week.

He revealed the obstacles that still remain between Belarus and European states.

Related: Vladimir Makei at at 7th World Congress of Belarusians. Photo: TUT.BY

According to Makei, there remain a number of technical issues that require further settlement – in particular, in the agreements on the simplification of visa regime and on readmission.

Vladimir Makei noted that these issues are getting politicized by Western officials.

“Our European partners suggest including points that are unacceptable to us because they politicize these documents”, the minister said.

He added that similar agreements between the EU and Russia, Moldova and Ukraine did not include such points.

“It is important to stick to uniform standards in the matter without going political as is happening at present,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Makei confirmed Belarus’ intention to extend 5-day visa-free period in a interview with the Spanish El Pais.

In July, Belarusian Deputy Sport and Tourism Minister Mikhail Portnoi put forward an initiative to increase it to 10 days.

“We are working with other ministries to increase the number of visa-free days,” Mikhail Portnoy said.