PETROZAVODSK, November 24 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hopes that the visa regime with countries of the European Union will be cancelled “in a countable number of years.” “My task is to ensure that it is possible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is not a promise to cancel visas in 2025, but there must be a clear perspective for a countable number of years,” the president said in a conversation with reporters from the North Western Federal District.
Medvedev acknowledged that he spends much time and “perhaps, is found boring by partners in the EU” talking of his intention to achieve the cancellation of the visa regime between the Russian Federation and the European Union. The president said at each meeting with a European colleague he repeats: “Carthage must fall. Visas must be cancelled.” He mentioned responses of European leaders who refer to Russia as an “important partner” and see the need in perspective to cancel the visa regime. He compared Russia with China that has the same amount of trade turnover with the EU, as Russia. “This is a sizable amount. You must realize what China means to the world economy now,” Medvedev stressed.
The Russian president also recalled considerable facilitation of the visa regime when several categories of Russian citizens can get visas in a simplified procedure for a long period of time.
Medvedev is sure that “in the long run everything will depend on how consolidated the stand of the European Union is.” Medvedev noted there are countries within the EU that are ready to cancel visas with Russia even now. “They are glad to see us and can do this almost as early as tomorrow.” Another category of states are those that are ready to discuss the matter with Russia but have political problems at home and so “would like to advance gradually, as their problems permit.” “There is still other category of countries that vaguely hint that they do not trust Russians and believe that difficulties can be connected with Russia,” Medvedev said.
He described this stand as “shortsighted and very strange”. “As regards problems of the European Union and the Schengen zone, they are rooted not in Russia and not even in Central Asian countries. They stem from the political situation within the European Union,” Medvedev holds. He pointed to the existing free-travel agreements between EU countries and other states. “I suggested to our partners more than once to study this problem to see where the biggest problems, including narcotics trafficking and organized crime, come from,” the president said.