While the EU member may decide to issue visas, a total ban on travel is not possible.
As with the other EU countries, Finland could stop issuing visas for some Russians but it is not possible to ban them all, Interfax, the Russian news agency, reported Friday. The source was the European Commission.
“EU countries have significant leeway in terms of cutting back on or halting the [issuance] of long-term visas and residence permits pursuant to their national legislation,”The source added, however that it was not known if there were any “will always be categories of people to whom visas must be issued, for example, for humanitarian purposes, for family members, journalists or dissidents.”
An earlier support for the suspension of visas for Russian nationals was made by four Finnish parliamentarian groups. This is due to ongoing conflicts in Ukraine. Representatives of the National Coalition and Social Democrats as well as the Finns Party called for tighter criteria to grant visas to Russians.
Jukka Kola, deputy chairperson of National Coalition Parliamentary Group said that Finland should issue Russian citizens visas while keeping the restrictions in place during the Covid-19 outbreak. The only people eligible to enter would be those with relatives in Finland or property owners.
According to Jussi Tanner, the director general of consular services at the Finnish Foreign Ministry, the nation’s authorities are considering several options that would allow visa restrictions to be imposed.
There are two options. One is not to issue visas at all. But Finland belongs to the Schengen Area, and must follow its rules. “The rule of law means that these rules have not changed,”He stated.
There are other options, such as closing the border for passenger traffic or finding a solution at EU level.
Dmitry Peskov (Kremlin spokesperson) commented Tuesday on possible visa restrictions being introduced by Finland. “would, of course, react very negatively,” adding: “All such actions against Russian citizens would require countermeasures and a response – this should be understood and expected.”
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