Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Belarus on the facilitation of the issuance of visas
1. This Explanatory Memorandum (EM) relates to proposals from the Commission to conclude and sign an agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Belarus on the facilitation of the issuance of visas. These documents seek council approval to both conclude the agreements and empower a person to sign the agreement on behalf of the European Union.
2. At the Eastern partnership summit in May 2009 the EU reaffirmed its support of full liberalisation of the visa regime in a secure environment and promoting mobility through visa facilitation and readmission agreements. This built on the decision taken in December 2005 that a visa facilitation agreement would not be concluded without an accompanying readmission agreement being in place.
3. In 12 November 2010 the Commission presented a recommendation seeking Council approval to begin negotiations with Belarus on agreements covering both the readmission of persons residing without authorisation and the facilitation of the issuance of visas. Council approval was given on 28 February 2011. Following negotiations during which the Council and Parliament were kept informed of progress the text of the agreement was initialled on 17 June 2019.