European Union suspends visa agreement with Russia

The divisions within the European Union persist after the informal meeting of foreign ministers of the EU held this Wednesday in Prague.

Although ministers have reached a political agreement to completely suspend the EU’s visa facilitation agreement with Russia, the bloc remains divided when it comes to a total visa ban.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto declared on Wednesday that several member states, including his country, “have raised their voices” against a general EU visa ban.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said he supported ending the EU’s visa facilitation agreement with Russia, but “this alone would not be enough”, adding that Estonia and other neighboring countries that share a border with Russia and Belarus would consider a national visa ban.

“Until we have reached an agreement on how to restrict the entry of Russian citizens to the European Union, Estonia and other countries that share a border with Russia and Belarus will consider a national visa ban or restriction of border crossings for citizens Russians with EU visas,” Reinsalu said in the statement posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

“At the informal meeting, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland issued a joint statement on the substantial increase in Russian citizens entering the European Union and the Schengen area and the security threat it poses” added the statement.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters that the EU has taken a step “in the right direction” today, according to Finnish public broadcaster YLE.

“A common approach will prevent a possible purchase of visas by Russians who go from here to there trying to find the best conditions,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a news conference after the meeting. meeting.

Visas were already restricted for some categories of Russian citizens. Borrell said that, for the moment, it is not a legal text but only a political agreement.

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