EU suspends visa deal with Russia

EU suspends visa deal with Russia

The foreign ministers of l’EU have reached, Wednesday 31 August, to a political compromise aimed at completely suspending l’accord d’relaxation of the visa regime agreed with Moscow. This agreement will make l’entered l’EU more difficult and more costly for Russian citizens, while strengthening support d’a common regional approach for neighboring countries.

« We put ourselves Okayon […] the total suspension of l’agreement to facilitate the issuance of visas between l’EU and Russia»said the head of diplomacy of l’EU, Josep Borrell, to journalists after a two-day informal meeting in Prague.

«This will significantly reduce the number of new visas issued by Member States of l’EU. It will be harder, it will take longer».

The total suspension of l’2007 agreement to facilitate the issuance of visas, which was partially suspended after l’invasion of l’Ukraine by Russia in February, will mean times d’longer waits and higher costs (from 35 € around 80 €) for Russian tourists.

New visas will be granted on the basis d’an individual assessment, on a case-by-case basis, while the surrender of existing visas will require a «common approach»said M. Borrell, adding that member states of l’EU will instruct the European Commission «d’examine this complex situation and provide guidance».

«We do not want to separate from the Russians who s’oppose the war in Ukraine, we do not want to isolate ourselves from Russian civil society»said M. Borrell

Moreover, according to l’political agreement, «passports issued by Russian authorities in occupied territories in Ukraine will not be recognized»he added.

“Security Risk”

According to diplomats, ministers could not immediately agree on a comprehensive ban on travel visas for Russians, with member states split on the issue.

M. Borrell said the substantial increase in the number of border crossings from Russia to the EU since mid-July “has become a security risk for these neighboring states”.

Many Russians moved to l’EU to shop «as if the war was not raging in Ukraine»he said, adding that member states were Okay what «business can’t go on Like nothing ever happened».

About one million Russian citizens legally entered l’European Union since the outbreak of l’invasion of l’Ukraine by Russia on 24 February, about two-thirds of which entered through l’Estonia and Finland, according to l’European border guard agency Frontex.

These two countries are part of l’Schengen area, which has no borders, so as soon as the Russians enter l’EU with a Schengen visa, they are free to travel to most European countries.

Eastern Victory

Before the meetings, the Baltic countries and Poland, backed by the Nordic countries, had threatened to take unilateral action if l’EU couldn’t get on Okay on l’ban on Russian tourists, but d’other countries, including l’Germany and France, lobbied for l’approach to the block is more moderate.

During Wednesday’s talks, several ministers met for separate talks to d’develop the wording d’a compromise agreement and d’avoid an East-West divide in the measures, officials said l’UE.

At the end of the day, l’political agreement presented by M. Borrell was essentially ransacked by German, Dutch and Lithuanian ministers.

L’Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland had drawn up a joint declaration inviting the European Commission to propose measures to «decisively decrease the flow of Russian citizens into l’European Union and l’Schengen area».

They also warned thatthey would consider d’introduce «temporary measures at national level» to limit the number of Russian citizens entering the bloc by crossing their borders.

S’expressing following the meeting, M. Borrell stressed that Member States would have d’a wide range of measures thatthey may adopt regarding the issuance of Russian visas and border controls, provided thatthey comply with the Schengen border code of l’EU which establishes the border rules.

The ministers’ joint position reads as follows : «Given the difficult implications for neighboring countries, we recognize that measures can be adopted at the national level, in order to restrict l’entered l’EU, in accordance with the Schengen border code of l’UE. »

This basically gives l’endorsement of l’EU to countries bordering Russia to find a «regional solution» to the problem of Russian citizens crossing their borders.

Visas have always been the prerogative of each Member State of l’EU, but the latest formulation, which spells it out perfectly, has strengthened the position of countries that have already decided to implement unilateral measures in recent weeks.

In accordance with the Schengen border code of l’EU, they are in any case authorized to refuse l’entry to the Russians with d’a visa for security reasons, s’they represent a «threat to l’public order, internal security, public health or international relations» of said country.

A victory for the countries bordering Russia, this measure should be followed by a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and l’Iinterior of l’Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, probably as early as the end of this week, in order to find an agreement on a common approach.

Diplomats from the region said thatthey expected visa scrutiny from Russians at border checkpoints.


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