EU Foreign Affairs Chief Opposes Visa Ban for Russians
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, has said that he does not support the idea of imposing a visa ban for citizens of Russia.
Such a remark was made ahead of a meeting that the foreign ministers of the EU countries are to hold next week in Prague, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Borrell said that it is not a good idea to forbid the entrance into the EU to all Russians, suggesting that the EU countries should apply a more selective approach.
In addition, he noted that over 300,000 Russians fled their country since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and said that the EU should not close its doors to these Russians.
While Borrell suggested that the EU does not restrict the movement of innocent citizens, he said oligarchs and those responsible for the war should continue to remain subject to restrictive measures.
“To the oligarchs, we must not open the door, of course. We have to block the entrance to these Russians. But there are many Russians who want to flee the country because they don’t want to live in this situation,” Borrell stated.
Similarly, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has also said that imposing an entry ban for Russians is not a good idea. The Chancellor said earlier this month that Russians should not suffer Putin’s actions. Instead of imposing an entry ban on innocent citizens, the Chancellor suggested that the EU countries focus on targeting Putin and other individuals responsible for the war.
Despite such calls being made, some EU countries have already suspended visas for Russians. The current holder of the rotating presidency of the EU, the Czech Republic, has suspended visas for citizens of Russia and, at the same time, has called on other countries to do so.
Estonia has also stopped issuing visas for Russians. Moreover, the country has also banned entry for citizens of Russia who hold a visa issued by the Estonian authorities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia said earlier this month that applications made for a Schengen visa by Russian citizens would be rejected. Nonetheless, the authorities emphasised that certain exemptions apply.
Latvia stopped issuing Schengen visas for Russians too. The country suspended its cross-border deal with Russia on August 1 and imposed stricter entry restrictions.
Apart from these two countries, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Poland also support an entry ban on Russians.