Visa Facilitation And Readmission Agreements

Helping citizens to move around in a safe environment in Europe is an important part of the Eastern Partnership, which encourages the mobility of citizens of the EU`s eastern partner countries through visa facilitation agreements and provides rules for managing the return of irregular migrants through readmission agreements. In 2014, the EU and the Republic of Belarus began negotiating visa facilitation and readmission agreements. The mobility partnership between the two countries was signed in October 2016. Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, said: “These agreements will improve mobility in a well-managed and safe environment. Once restrictions on coronavirus-related travel are eased, it will be easier for Belarusian citizens to enter the EU. This means closer ties and closer exchanges between our people and societies. Agreements facilitating the issuance of visas promote contact between citizens between citizens and nationals of non-EU countries. The agreements facilitate the issuance of visas for short-term stays and do not exceed 90 days of stay within 180 days. This article presents an analysis of the objective, substantial and political impact of the agreements on the facilitation of visa issuance and readmission by the EC. These agreements have become increasingly important in EU foreign policy, as the EU has begun to view visa facilitation not only as a necessary incentive to sign a readmission agreement, but also as a means of mitigating the negative effects of enlargement to the East. By proposing more flexible travel conditions in exchange for the approval of an EC acquisition agreement and reforms in the area of justice and home affairs, the EU has found a new way to exert domestic pressure, while it has found a significant source of discontent in these countries. The analysis takes into account the wider impact of these agreements and argues that, while facilitated travel opportunities are beneficial for citizens of destination countries, the positive results will be undermined by the enlargement of Schengen, which requires the new Member States to tighten their borders with their neighbours.

Belarus is informed of the conclusions of these agreements, which come into force on the first day of the second month following the notification.

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