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MOSCOW, July 13 (Itar-Tass) - Preparations for introducing visa-free formalities for short-term trips between Russia and the European Union can be completed by the yearend, Russian permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said.
Russia has been holding talks on visa free formalities for short-term formalities for 10 years, Chizhov said. “We have a document ‘Joint Steps towards Visa Free Travel’. These joint steps have been taken by three quarters. There are real prospects for completing this work by the yearend,” the diplomat said in an interview with the Voice of Russia radio station on Saturday.
At the same time, he explained that he meant short-term trips. In order to fulfil the obligations Russia and the EU should coordinate a deal to cancel visas for short-term trips. To this end, a political decision should be taken and political will is indispensable. “As for Russia, I have no doubts. But the European Union needs political will. This should be decided by the EU Council. The consent from all EU member-countries is necessary,” Chizhov said.
There are two factors, which hamper this step. The first one is the financial and economic crisis in Europe. “Less attention is riveted to the development of external relations. Humanly it is clear, but this does not simplify the situation,” the diplomat said.
“The second factor is that there are historical prejudices against Russia, any phobias from the Soviet times. This is the real situation and we work to help overcome these phobias,” the Russian permanent representative to the EU said.