Full visa ban for Russians unlikely – Borrell

The move would lack the necessary support from EU states, the bloc’s foreign policy chief has said

A full visa ban for all Russians, in response to Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, is unlikely to receive unanimous support in the EU, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said on Sunday.

Borrell stated that the EU’s foreign ministers might not be supportive of the measure during their next meeting later in Prague.

I don’t think that to cut the relationship with the Russian civilian population will help and I don’t think that this idea will have the required unanimity,” he said.

A top EU diplomat believes that the bloc must adopt a more selective approach to foreign policy.

It is time to examine how certain Russians are granted visas. [not]They are the oligarchs. You have to be selective. But, I don’t think it is right to stop delivering visas for all Russians.”

To ban any ministers, it would be necessary to come to an agreement. This might not be possible given the opposition of several EU countries, like Portugal, Hungary, Cyprus and Cyprus. Earlier this month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the Ukraine conflict “This is not the Russian war on the people” calling on his Western colleagues to distinguish between the people of Russia and the nation’s leadership.

On Sunday however, Financial Times reported that EU foreign ministry plans to endorse a suspension agreement for 2007 EU-Russia visa facilitation. The process for applying to EU visas could become more difficult and costly, as well as the time it takes.

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FILE PHOTO: A border crossing between Russia and Estonia, 2017. © Sergey Stepanov / Sputnik
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Russian tourists shouldn’t be allowed to walk in the cities or on our waterfronts.,” a senior EU official told the newspaper at the time. “This is a message to Russia that the war against us is not okay and is not allowed..”

A number of other countries including Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic had stopped issuing Russian citizens visas earlier. Kaja Kallas, Estonia’s Prime Minister, stated last week that Russian tourists are a security risk to Estonia.

Commenting on the visa ban proposals discussed at the EU level, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that such initiatives “don’t smell too good,” expressing hope that common sense would eventually prevail.



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