Conditions should be equal

President of Lithuania calls on EU leaders to simplify border crossing for Belarusian residents

By Yelena Yurkyavichene

Dalia Grybauskaite has called upon the EU leadership to simplify visa procedures for Belarusian citizens, making the Schengen zone more available to them, according to BelTA.

The Press Service of the Lithuanian President has announced that Ms. Grybauskaite has written to the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, to stress the importance of changing visa conditions for Belarusian citizens. This would enable them to visit EU states under the same terms as those from neighbouring countries in Eastern Europe.

The Lithuanian President believes that isolation of the country and its citizens is non-productive, having produced no results, so new paths of communication are needed with Belarus. Ms. Grybauskaite suggests discussing issues of simplified cross-border movement for Belarusian citizens and strengthening of their contacts with EU citizens at forthcoming meetings of the European Council on Foreign Relations and at the Council of Europe.

Lithuania has announced its intention to reduce the cost of its national visas for Belarusian citizens on a bilateral basis. However, without the EU’s consent, it cannot reduce the cost of visas for the Schengen zone.

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