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Greece backs EU visa facilitation for Belarus citizens


MINSK, 21 December (BelTA) – Greece favors the EU visa simplification for Belarusian citizens, Secretary General for International Economic Relations of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Tsipras said in an interview to the Belarus One TV channel, BelTA informs.

"The Greek government speaks for the simplification of the procedures necessary for Belarusian citizens to complete in order to visit Greece. Greece wants to be open to everyone who wants to visit it, especially for guests from countries such as Russia and Belarus. Unfortunately, the regime under which people may travel to the EU countries has been toughened this year. This is a serious problem for Greece," the diplomat said.

In his words, the visa issue has nothing to do with refugees. "Refugees do not receive visas. I would even say that there is some hypocrisy in the statements that the toughening of the visa procedures prevents scheming. Such cases are few. Every day thousands of refugees arrive in Europe without any documents at all," said Giorgos Tsipras. The diplomat also stressed that there is no direct link between the refugee flows and the arrival of Islamic State supporters to the European Union. In his words, this threat had emerged long before the start of the migration crisis.

The potential of the Greece-Belarus relations is not only in the tourism sector. "There is a possibility to set up joint companies in a number of areas. Moreover, Belarus is an important part of the Eurasian Economic Union with which Greece would like to expand cooperation," said Giorgos Tsipras.