All news

EU foreign policy chief does not support total ban on visas for Russians

Earlier, the Finnish Foreign Ministry announced 10 times reduction of the number of tourist visas issued to Russians from September 1 compared to the current level

BRUSSELS, August 22. /TASS/. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell does not support the idea of introducing a visa ban for all Russians travelling to the European Union, according to a recording of his statement at a geopolitics forum in Spain.

"I think <...> that forbid the entrance to all the Russians is not a good idea," he said on Monday, stressing that the initiative is quite controversial.

A diplomatic source earlier told TASS that the EU foreign ministers would consider the Baltic States’ and Finland’s proposal to ban issuing Schengen visas to Russians at an informal meeting in Prague on August 30-31. Later this information was fully confirmed by the European Commission. The source also explained that since the Schengen visa code does not provide for the possibility of a complete ban on issuing visas based on nationality, the initiators of the project have two possibilities: either to start revising Schengen rules, which may become a long and problematic procedure, or to reach an agreement with several EU countries to restrict issuing visas to certain categories of Russian citizens.

Earlier, the Finnish Foreign Ministry announced 10 times reduction of the number of tourist visas issued to Russians from September 1 compared to the current level. Estonian authorities stopped allowing Russian citizens with the Schengen visas, issued by Estonian consulates, to enter the country on August 18. Restrictions on Schengen visas for Russians are also being worked out in other Baltic countries.

Leading EU states, in particular Germany, are still cautiously considering this measure, as such a ban may become a confirmation that EU sanctions are aimed not against Russia's leadership, but against the entire country and its people. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed that he could hardly imagine stopping the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians. According to him, the Russian leadership is responsible for the situation in Ukraine, not ordinary citizens. A spokesman for the federal government told Bild that Scholz "does not support the introduction of such a general ban," but "understands the debate."