22 May 2024,   03:14
EU foreign ministers agree to scrap Russia visa deal but stop short of full tourist ban

The European Union has decided to fully suspend a 2007 visa agreement with Russia and intensify scrutiny over the future applications submitted by Russian tourists, writes Euronews.

The political decision, taken in response to the invasion of Ukraine, falls short of the outright visa ban advocated by countries neighbouring Russia and receiving visitors by land.

The suspension of the agreement is expected to significantly hinder the visa application process, making it much more expensive, burdensome and drawn-out for Russian nationals planning to visit the bloc.

“It’s going to be more difficult and longer, and consequently the number of new visas will be substantially reduced”, - said Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, at the end of an informal meeting of foreign affairs ministers in Prague.

“This is a common approach and a common approach will prevent potential visa-shopping by Russians, going here and there, trying to [find] the best conditions. Passports issued by Russian authorities inside the occupied territories of Ukraine will not be recognised across EU territory”, - the diplomat added.

Ministers also tasked the European Commission with looking into possible ways to tackle the estimated 12 million visas issued to Russian citizens that are still in circulation.