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MOSCOW, March 22 (Itar-Tass) – Visa formalities between Russia and the EU should be cancelled and this is the priority issue in Russia-EU cooperation, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
Speaking at a press conference after the Russia-European Commission plenary session on Friday, Medvedev said, “Visas should be cancelled. But this is the issue of our agreements, which had been earlier signed, how to do this.”
“This barrier remains ‘an essential topic’ of the Russia-EU dialogue and ‘a rather difficult barrier between people’, who live in these countries,” Medvedev stressed.
Medvedev said Russia riveted much attention to the Russia-EU basic agreement due to Russia’s membership in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the country’s Eurasian integration. “We rivet much attention to this document. We’ve agreed to search for compromises in order to sign the new agreement within the short period of time because the previous deal was signed in 1994. Next year we’ll mark the jubilee. Maybe, it would be not bad to conclude the new document. Let’s see,” the Russian prime minister said.
Russia and the EU have held a dialogue on visa relations since 2007 and try to step it up. The talks are holding in two directions. The key one is to cancel visas. At present, the parties have coordinated the so-called list of joint steps. Earlier, Medvedev said: “We have certain progress in this sphere (we have agreed on a so-called list of joint steps) and certain problems, because there is no progress on a number of issues. Our colleagues refer to the fact that certain states have their own positions.” “Every year 5 million people come to the EU from Russia, and no less people are travelling from the European Union to Russia,” he said, adding that Russia and the EU are also major economic partners.
“At the moment, in what you might call, the ball is on the side of the European Union. We wait for its final position,” Medvedev said.
The second direction is the visa simplified regime for certain categories of citizens. “The process continues and we’ll be able to reach certain agreements,” Medvedev said.