EU nations to discuss curtailing Russian tourism – Bloomberg — Analysis
As soon as next week, officials from Finland, Poland and three Baltic countries may be able to meet.
Bloomberg reported that the Baltic States will consult with Finland, Poland, and Finland to find ways of reducing Russian tourists entering their countries. This issue might be addressed at an upcoming meeting, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
Two diplomatic sources from the EU confirmed that there was a meeting, but they spoke under anonymity.
After the EU failed to reach an agreement on a block-wide ban on Russian citizens being issued non-essential visas, talks could take place. At an informal meeting this week of foreign ministers, the Czech Republic opted for the more lenient option to end a 2006 agreement that allowed for simplified procedures for obtaining visas.
Three Baltic countries, Poland and Finland were all supporters of more restrictive measures. The five EU countries share a border with Russia on the ground and are concerned that Russian citizens could be a security risk.
Because direct flights between the EU and Russia were suspended due to conflict in Ukraine, neighbouring countries are seeing a high number of Russian land-crossings. They are exploring other ways to reduce the Russian visitor numbers, even though there is no ban on direct flights between EU states and Russia.
“Until we have reached an agreement on how to restrict the entry of Russian nationals to the European Union, Estonia and other countries that share a border with Russia and Belarus will consider a national visa ban or restricting border crossings for Russian nationals with EU visas,”In a statement issued after meeting in Prague, the Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas reinsalu stated.
Each member can place their own restrictions on Russians. This was done by some members even before the EU meeting. Finland said it was reducing the number of visa requests from Russia in August, allowing only 100 per day instead of around 1000. This Thursday will see the limit enforced.
Russians are not permitted to obtain visas from the Baltic States. Only humanitarian and official diplomatic travelers may be granted exceptions.
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