Increasing visa prices for Belarus and more difficult visa procedure in the result of the Schengen zone expansion is the result of administrative dereliction.
Vintsuk Vyachorka, deputy head of the Belarusian Popular Front, who is responsible for international issues in the Political Council of the United Democratic Forces, said in the interview to BelaPAN.
“Unfortunately, Belarusian citizens are being damaged by the authorities, who are doing nothing for rapprochement between our county and the European Union,” he stressed.
It should be reminded that Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have joined the Schengen Zone on 21 December. It has led to increasing of visa prices for Belarusians to 60 euro, and has complicated the visa procedure.
According to Vyachorka, “the natural integration processes” is running in Europe. “It’s a distressing fact that Belarus dropped out of these processes. Moreover, we are even in more disadvantageous position then Ukraine, which was carrying out more active negotiations with the UE,” he noted.
V. Vyachorka thinks the real acts of authorities to normalise relation with the EU would guarantee the cheaper visas for Belarusian citizens, and simplification of visa procedure. He also emphasised that “Belarus could count on visa-free regime with Europe in future.”
It should be reminded Schengen visa costs 35 euro for citizens of Ukraine and Russia. These countries agreed on that price with the EU in the frames of Good Neighbourhood Policy, which doesn’t cover Belarus, because the official Minsk had refused to cooperate with Europe on the offered by the EU conditions, one of which is release of political prisoners. Moreover, one of the Young Front leaders Artur Finkevich was sentenced to 1.5 in penal colony of general regime. The political prisoner, who was to be set free yet in early December after serving his term at the so called “Khimiya” (correctional prison facility), was found guilty in misconduct and thrown into prison.