Today, Commission DG for Home Affairs, Stefano Manservisi and Belarus Deputy Foreign Minister Alena Kupchyna met in Brussels to launch the negotiations on Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements between the EU and Belarus. Since 2011 the Commission has been regularly reminding of its readiness to launch the negotiations.
The negotiations will focus on agreements to facilitate the procedures for issuing short-stay visas as well as the readmission of irregular migrants between the European Union and Belarus.
Once negotiated in parallel, the agreements on visa facilitation and readmission can only enter into force simultaneously.
Visa facilitation agreements go hand-in-hand with readmission agreements between the EU and third countries, and both documents can only enter into force simultaneously.
Readmission agreements set out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of EU member states and third countries concerned as to when and how to take back people who are illegally residing on the territories of the parties.
So far, the EU has signed visa facilitation and readmission agreements with eleven countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Cape Verde and Armenia.