After years of negotiations, representatives from the Republic of Belarus and the European Union struck an agreement to simplify Schengen visa procedures and readmit those who were illegally present on either side.
The documents were signed in a ceremony in Brussels, Belgium, by the following Belarus and European Union delegates:
- Vladimir Makei, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Davor Bozinovic, Croatian Internal Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister
- Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs
Visa statistics show strong relations between Belarus and the EU, according to Bozinovic’s remarks during the ceremony. According to Bozinovic’s statement, about 700,000 Belarusians sought for Schengen visas in 2018, the vast majority of which were multiple-entry permits.
“Belarus is a country with a high number of Schengen visas issued and a low percentage of denials,” stated Bozinovic.
Following the signing of the agreements, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei met with Helga Schmid, Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, and Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Administration, to discuss aspects of bilateral cooperation under the Eastern Partnership Initiative.