Updated at 11:25,18-04-2018

EU reiterates readiness to launch negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission agreement with Belarus


The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, in its conclusions adopted at a meeting in Brussels on February 18, reiterated its "readiness to launch negotiations on a visa facilitation and readmission agreement with Belarus" and "welcomed that Member States continue to make optimal use of the existing flexibilities offered by the Visa Code."

The Council said that a key EU priority for the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, which is to be held in June, will be the human rights situation in Belarus, "which continues to give rise to grave concern."

The Council reaffirmed "the importance it attaches to the Eastern Partnership, as a specific dimension of the European Neighborhood Policy, and its objective of accelerating the political association and deepening the economic integration of the Eastern European partner countries with the EU, based on the Eastern Partnership Joint Summit Declarations of May 2009 and September 2011," and acknowledged "the European aspirations and the European choice of some partners and their commitment to build deep and sustainable democracy."

The Council highlighted the "particular role of the Eastern Partnership to support those who seek an ever closer relationship with the EU," and pointed out that "at the heart of the Eastern Partnership lies a shared commitment to international law and fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as to market economy, sustainable development and good governance."