MOSCOW, April 6 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia hopes to achieve a visaless regimen in relations with the European Union in 2014, the deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s information and press department, Maria Zakharova, said on Friday.
“We have been conducting systematic work with the aim to achieve the abolition of the visa regimen for trips by Russian and European Union citizens,” she said. “Certain progress has been achieved along these lines. An exhaustive list of joint steps for transition to visaless brief trips has been compiled. It envisages tighter cooperation by the migration, border and law enforcement services of Russia and the European Union.”
“The joint steps will open up the opportunity for starting negotiations on the cancellation of visas,” she said with certainty. “The Russia-EU summit in Brussels on December 15, 2011 gave the green light to effecting this list.”
“Progress in the implementation of joint steps was discussed at the first consultations by Russian and EU experts in Moscow on March 14-16,” Maria Zakharova recalled. “Intermediate steps are to be reviewed at a meeting of the Russia-EU Permanent Partnership Council on Freedom, Security and Justice last October.”
“This issue will be discussed in detail at the Russia-EU summit in December 2012,” she added.
“We shall be working to ensure the process of implementing joint steps should be over by the time of the summit by and large. This would allow for making a decision on the beginning of negotiations to draft a Russia-EU agreement on the cancellation of visas and, possibly, on the establishment of a visaless regimen in 2014,” the Foreign Ministry official said.