MOSCOW, June 5 (Itar-Tass) — On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin recalled once again to European colleagues about a possible cancellation of the visa regime at the Russia-EU summit in St. Petersburg. Although the summiteers did not reach agreement on this issue, some experts see the prospects for a positive settlement of the problem.
Moscow still insists toughly on the cancellation of the visa regime between Russia and the European Union, while the EU makes only diplomatic statements, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. However, this time Vladimir Putin prepared a story linked with the journalists of the Kremlin pool as a cold shower. When the Russian president visited Germany and France several days ago, Russian journalists received a visa only for one day. “Since we held a press conference quite late, there was already a threat that the visa will expire. And was it needed to get up and depart?” Putin asked with confusion Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso. The conclusion of the president from this story was simple: the Kremlin is dissatisfied with the progress on the negotiations for an easier visa regime between Russia and the European Union.
After the summit Vladimir Putin confirmed again that current visa barriers hamper the development of humanitarian contacts and economy, the Novye Izvestia daily reported. But European representatives continued to assure that some progress is obvious in the issues of visas. Vladimir Putin put it clearly again that the ball is on the EU side in the negotiations for visa cancellation.
The progress is obvious in the negotiations for visa-free regime between Russia and the EU, the Izvestia daily reported. After the summit the Izvestia correspondent asked Russian Permanent Representative in the EU Vladimir Chizhov, how the EU states take Russian actions to implement the plan of joint steps for the transition to the visa-free regime. This document was approved at the previous Russia-EU summit in Brussels.
“The EU is still studying the document, but I assume that they are content,” Chizhov stated. On June 25, Brussels will host the negotiations, at which the sides will share views on the fulfilment of joint steps, he said. The Sochi Olympics is a natural deadline, when the visas for brief trips can be cancelled finally, Chizhov noted.
Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made a clearer statement. “If you want to come (for the Olympics), let’s cancel visas,” he gave a piece of advice to a foreign journalist. The foreign minister noted that “there are several countries that entered the EU recently,” and their position is the following, “No matter what the Russians do, they cannot be admitted in the EU before Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, if certainly the latter improves its situation.”
Most countries popular for Russian tourists would like to lift all restrictions, but the Brussels iron will does not permit them to do it, the Trud newspaper reported. Spain, Greece or Cyprus are seeking to ease up the visa regime for Russians from time to time. Sometimes they succeed to do it, sometimes not, but the problem remains and, by the way, blowbacks to the EU, the newspaper believes. It turned out that the interests to travelling in Russia grows every year. The countries, the budget of which depends from tourism, are already feeling this for a long time, therefore, the list of those countries, which are ready to receive Russians without visas, is growing constantly. But the list contains already 55 countries, and 36 countries give the visa automatically at the airport.