In addition to Belarus, the EU has visa facilitation agreements with Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Northern Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. There are formal readmission agreements or practical return and readmission agreements with 24 countries, including Belarus. “The EU-Belarus Visa Facilitation Agreement and the EU-Belarus Readmission Agreement will come into force on 1 July. These agreements are an important step in strengthening the EU`s commitment to the People of Belarus,” Schuebel said. “They will pave the way for better mobility of citizens and help strengthen ties between the EU and its Eastern Partnership neighbours,” he added. Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for the Promotion of Our European Way of Life, said: “Today is a concrete step that will bring Europeans and Belarusians closer together. The visa facilitation agreement will allow EU citizens and Belarusians to travel more freely, and the readmission agreement will also help to combat irregular migration and benefit both Belarus and the EU. Tonight, MEPs voted in favour of the conclusion of visa facilitation and readmission agreements between the European Union and the Republic of Belarus. The renewal of Europe sees this as a positive development in relations between the EU and Belarus, which directly benefits the people of Belarus. From now on, Belarusian citizens will benefit from a simplified mobility system and a well-managed and safe environment for freedom of movement. These changes will also improve contacts between the EU and Belarusian citizens. Belarus is informed of the conclusions of these agreements, which come into force on the first day of the second month following the notification.
This is expected on July 1, 2020. Despite the coronavirus outbreak at the Site of the Belarusian Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant, Grodno, construction of the nuclear fuel of the first reactor delivered last week continues. The Belarusian nuclear power plant does not meet international nuclear safety standards and, because of its proximity to the EU`s external borders, poses a serious threat to the safety and health of European citizens. During the signing ceremony, Ms. Ylva Johansson, Member of the Commission for the Interior, signed on behalf of the EU, with Mr Davor Boinovic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of Croatia, on behalf of the EU, while Belarus was represented by Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei. The visa facilitation agreement makes it easier for Belarusian citizens to obtain short-term visas for the European Union, with visa fees generally reduced to 35 euros and abolished for certain categories of travellers. In addition, service charges are now limited and the time for consulates to make a decision on a visa application is now reduced. Several categories of travellers, including journalists, students and members of official delegations, may obtain multiple-entry visas with an increasingly long duration of validity (up to 5 years), while they must provide fewer proofs to prove their travel objective.
Belarus has already unilaterally adopted measures to facilitate short-term visa exemption for EU citizens arriving in Minsk. The European Union is ready to blacklist Alyaksandr Lukashenko of Belarusian officials responsible for electoral fraud and brutality against protesters and opponents, as outlined in an RFE/RL draft.