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KALININGRAD, October 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia needs to simplify visa procedures with EU countries as much as possible, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
“When I am asked about visas with EU countries, I get upset. I am tempted to say what I think about that, but I won’t do that, for this is a medical and peaceful meeting,” the prime minister said at a meeting on the development of high-tech medical care, held in Kaliningrad on Wednesday, October 17.
“We should simplify visa regulations with our colleagues in the European Union as much as possible,” he added.
Medvedev recalled that “a road map” has been drafted but its implementation has been slow.
The sides have so far not reconciled their positions and “the talks are basically at a stalemate”, he said.
“The ball is on our partner’s side,” the prime minister added.
He noted that visa issues always have a reciprocal nature. “If we come to agreement there will be no delays on our part,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev believes that Russia has good chances to move over to visa-free travel with the European Union in the years to come.
“I believe that we have fairly good chances to reach an agreement with our European colleagues in the next few years on full visa-free travel,” Medvedev said.
He doubts that unilateral abolition of visas would be advisable.
“We believe that mutual concessions will lead nowhere,” the prime minister said, adding that Ukraine, which has abolished visa restrictions for European Union residents, is considering restoring them again.
According to Medvedev, “the main future scenario in mutual relations would the abolition of visas between Russia and the EU”.
“I have been dealing with this for the past several years and we continue to do this because we think that Russia is ready for visa-free travel with the European Union,” he said.
“Speaking of the level of threats, the Russian Federation is not a threat for the EU. They have to work out their problems themselves, and it is not so obvious yet who will come from where and who will get a bigger headache,” Medvedev said.
In his opinion, there is no need to make exceptions for individual regions. “I would think that we should be a full-fledged state and make sure that our partners and friends in the European Union follow this ‘road map’ and the steps we prepared together with them late last year – we have to move forward and abide by the rules that exist there,” he said.