Common Visa for Traveling to Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan

by 28.12.10 Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will provide a common visa for foreigners in 2011, comparable to the one of the Schengen states, thus the Customs Union will obtain one boss. This was stated by Deputy Economic Development Minister of Russia Andrei Slepnev. As explained by Andrei Slepnev, common visa space is a prerequisite for the formation of the Common Economic Space (CES) to operate in full since 2012, “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” says.

According to Deputy Minister of Economic Development, the principles of the Schengen zone will be taken as a model – the foreigners, for example, will be able to enter the territory of Russia with Belarus or Kazakhstan visa. Andrei Slepnev did not specify the exact date of the new rules coming into force, but noted that if it could happen fairly quickly if the three states didn’t slow down their tempo.

Andrei Slepnev noted that a supranational body – the Commission of the Customs Union – would gain new authority as well. In addition to customs regulations, it will deal with the establishment of common rules in the technical regulation, antitrust activity. “And it came to the point when it’s necessary to make this structure more independent, said Slepnev. – Now parties delegate their representatives to the commission in the rank of deputy prime ministers or cabinet members, with a rotating presidency. But the powers of the chairman are limited – decisions are made by two-thirds voting.

The current format is insufficient for the transition to the CES. It may lead to a major power expansion of the presidency, and even to the rejection of the current principle of “triumvirate” decision-making. It is not yet clear how to elect the chairman. Andrei Slepnev just remarked that a commission would be headed by an authoritative person. In fact, the national governments will have to obey him on many issues.

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