July, 21

EU intends to suspend visa facilitation with russia - Financial Times

08/29/2022 11:51:25 am
Total views 425. Views today — 2.

This week, the EU foreign ministers intend to support the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement with Moscow to limit the number of travel permits. This is reported by the Financial Times.

"Some countries have demanded collective action to ban ordinary Russians from traveling to the EU on tourist visas, the latest challenge for a bloc that is trying to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine while maintaining unity among its 27 members", - FT writes.

As a first step, ministers are going to provide political support for the suspension of the EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement at a two-day meeting in Prague starting on Tuesday, three officials involved in the talks told the Financial Times.

"It is inappropriate for Russian tourists to walk along our cities and marinas", - a senior EU official who participated in the talks said. "We must send a signal to the people of Russia that this war is unacceptable".

It is noted that parts of the 2007 agreement regarding the free movement of government officials and businessmen were suspended at the end of February. A broader suspension would remove preferential treatment for Russians when applying for all EU visas, require more documents, make them more expensive and significantly increase waiting times.

"We are in an exceptional situation and it requires exceptional steps. We want to go beyond the suspension of visa facilitation", - a senior EU official said, having added that deeper changes could be made by the end of the year.

However, there is no consensus on additional measures that Brussels could take, either to reduce the number of EU visas issued to Russians, or to completely stop issuing them, as well as on the proposals such as extending any ban to citizens of Belarus, which supported Putin.

Some countries, including Germany, warn against an outright ban.

Finland, Poland and the Baltic countries bordering Russia have stated they are ready to stop the entry of Russians with tourist visas into their territory, citing national security-related exceptions to the Schengen agreement.

As previously reported, Estonia stopped letting Russian citizens with Schengen visas through from August 18.