In December of 2007, several countries of the ‘new Europe’, including all the EU member states, neighbouring Belarus on the west (Latvia, Lithuania and Poland), joined the Schengen area. As a result, the citizens of Belarus, pursuing the intention to visit the EU, faced more difficulties: the visa fee was raised by several times and the submission procedures for visa applications became more complicated. This, in turn, led to a sharp reduction in the number of visas issued by the consulates of the Schengen countries in Belarus in 2008. At present, a few years after the expansion of the Schengen area, the following questions need to be examined: to what extent the EU countries have overcome these negative effects for the visa routines and to what extent the EU visa policy deepens the isolation of the Belarusian society.
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