EU parliament to discuss visas for Belarus, Ukraine

The European Parliament is scheduled on April 21 to hold debates over the Schengen visas for Belarus and Ukraine nationals. A representative from the European Commission is expected to make a statement, according to the press office of the European Parliament. The debates were initiated by the deputies who spearhead a campaign or gathering signatures in order to reduce the costs of Schengen visas for Belarusians. If more than a half of 785 members of the European Parliament endorse the proposal by early May, it will be tabled with the Council of the European Union. Some 140 signatures have been collected so far. The process is moving slowly.

In 2007, the EU embassies raised visas fees for Belarusians from Euro 35 to Euro 60. In 2008, Belarus nationals have to pay Euro 60 for a visa even to the neighboring countries. At the same time, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Russia citizens pay Euro 35 for a visa thanks to bilateral agreements with the European Union.