In Kinshasa, the “European Visa Center,” formerly called “Schengen House” reopens on Wednesday, after 13 months of closure. This revived and strengthens the thaw relations between the DRC and Belgium.
This is good news for Congolese who want to travel to Europe. This consular device was closed following diplomatic tensions between the DRC and its former colonial power.
The reopening of this center is a sign of a warming of relations between Kinshasa and Brussels, says Philippe Brochain, Chargé d’Affaires of Belgium in the DRC
“This openness was achieved through intense exchanges with the Congolese authorities, and is a visible and tangible sign of the revitalization of the links between the DRC, on the one hand, and Belgium and France. And the European Union, on the other hand,” he said.
Formerly called “Schengen House,” the “European Visa Center” is, in fact, a kind of European Union consulate under the authority of Belgium.
This consular device had been closed by Kinshasa as a measure of retaliation against Belgium.
Kinshasa reacted to the suspension of bilateral cooperation decided by Brussels to protest against the repression of demonstrations demanding the departure of the former president Joseph Kabila.
The reopening of this device is a campaign promise by Felix Tshisekedi, the new Congolese president. Another sign of relaxation, Kinshasa recently authorized Brussels Airlines to fly seven flights a week between Brussels and Kinshasa.