EU Foreign Ministers agree to suspend agreement with Russia that eases visa issuance

EU Foreign Ministers agree to suspend agreement with Russia that eases visa issuance

The Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States have held an informal meeting in Prague and agreed to suspend an agreement with Russia that eases visa issuance.

The relevant statement was made by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell at a press conference in Prague, following the meeting, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

According to Borrell, since mid-July 2022, there has been a significant rise in cross-border crossings from Russia to the neighboring countries, which has turned into security risks for these countries. In addition, many Russians continue to travel for leisure and shopping, as if no war was raging in Ukraine. Thus, the EU Member States agreed “it cannot be business as usual”.

Borrell noted that visas had already been restricted for some categories of Russian nationals, who showed support for Putin’s regime. Now the EU Member States have agreed to take further steps. At his point, this is not a legal text but a political agreement, Borrell explained.

Meanwhile, there is a clear understanding among the EU Member States that this system should allow for an individual approach to visa issuance for the Russian citizens, as they would not like to cut themselves off from the Russian nationals who stand against the war in Ukraine or the Russian civil society.

In addition, the EU Member States agreed that passports issued by the Russian authorities within the occupied areas of Ukraine would not be recognized.

As for millions of the existing visas, the European Commission will look into this complex situation and provide guidelines, Borrell added.

The EU Member States also acknowledged that the countries bordering with Russia could take measures at national level to restrict entry into the EU through their borders in conformity with the EU Schengen Border Code.


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