The European Commission ruled out a complete ban on the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians

Such a solution is not possible under EU law; in addition, the sanctions of Brussels are directed against the government and business, and not Russian citizens, assured the European Commission. A ban on visas for Russians was recently called in Finland

EU regulations do not allow to completely stop issuing visas to citizens of a particular country. This is how the European Commission answered a question from the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat about the possibility of stopping the issuance of tourist visas to Russian citizens.

“There are always groups of people who need to be given visas. These are humanitarian cases, family members [of EU citizens], journalists and dissidents,— The publication quotes the response of the EC.

Brussels sanctions are aimed “first and foremost” against the Russian government and the country's economic elites, and not against ordinary Russians, the European Commission stressed.

They recalled that the decision to issue a Schengen visa in each case is made by one or another EU country. At the same time, the states— Members of the European Union must consider whether the arrival of a tourist would threaten national security, public order or international relations. If this is the case, then a particular candidate may be denied entry.

After the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the issuance of visas to Russians was suspended by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic. Immediately after that, Belgian Refugee Minister Sammy Mahdi and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki made calls to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens. On February 26, the EU suspended the simplified visa regime with Russia, that is, the issuance of short-term visas to officials and entrepreneurs under a simplified procedure.

On July 25, the main parliamentary parties in Finland (the Social Democratic Party, the Coalition Party, the True Finns and the Finland Center) came out in favor of refusing to issue tourist visas to Russians. On the day Russia lifted all coronavirus-related restrictions, the number of people crossing the Russian-Finnish land border reached the pre-pandemic level— more than 5 thousand people. The representative of the Coalition Party, a member of the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, Elina Valtonen, called it absurd the possibility for Russian citizens to travel to the West “as if nothing had happened.” Green Party member Saara Hürkkö said the best option would be an EU-level decision: it “would have the most impact”.

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After these reports, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned Helsinki about retaliatory measures in case of refusal to issue Schengen tourist visas to Russians. “Restricting the travel of Russian citizens for political reasons will be another step towards aggravating the confrontation in bilateral relations,” — I am sure the representative of the department Maria Zakharova. She warned of growing tensions in Europe in the event of such a move by the Finnish authorities and wondered if this initiative was a “NATO entry fee”.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would respond to such measures of an “emotional nature” from the EU countries.

The director of the consular department of the Russian diplomatic mission, Ivan Volynkin, did not rule out the possibility of stopping the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians. “In the event of a radical degradation of consular ties with other countries— members of the Schengen Agreement, even seemingly improbable scenarios cannot be ruled out,— he said.

After that, the source of “RIA Novosti” in the EU Permanent Mission in Moscow said that no decisions were made in Brussels to stop issuing visas.

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