8 EU Countries Push for Free Movement Restrictions Against Russian Diplomats

Eight European Union countries – Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, and Romania – have required the EU to impose further restrictions on Russian diplomats.

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The foreign ministers of these eight countries made an official request to the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, to ban Russian diplomats from moving freely and to restrict them from entering other member states than the one they are accredited to, Schengen.News reports.

As seen by Reuters, the letter sent to Borrell said that free movement across the bloc for Russian diplomats, as well as for those holding service passports, is making it easier for this group of people to carry out malicious activities.

The foreign ministers of the eight countries further said in the letter that the main responsibilities of Russian “diplomats” in the EU are propaganda and to prepare for sabotage acts.

The same emphasised that while the rules that the EU has taken so far to expel some Russians are important, the bloc continues to be threatened and thus has asked for tightened movement restrictions.

Member States Require Reciprocity on Free Movement Rules

According to Reuters, the foreign ministers said that the EU should apply the reciprocity principle. They also noted that not only Russian diplomats but also their family members should not be permitted to leave the territory of the state in which they are accredited.

We believe the EU should strictly follow the reciprocity principle and restrict the movement of members of Russian diplomatic missions and their family members to the territory of a state of their accreditation only.

Foreign Ministers of the Eight EU Countries

The foreign ministers of Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, and Romania also added in their letter to Borrell that such a measure would limit the operational space for Russian agents who have ulterior motives.

Just last month, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radosław Sikorski, said that the country would introduce movement restrictions on Russian embassy staff, suggesting that they would be permitted to only move freely within some parts of Poland and not the other member states.

Minister Sikorski explained that the movement of consuls would be limited within the voivodeships they are located. On the other hand, the minister noted that an exception would apply to the chief of the embassy.

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In addition to the above-mentioned, Czechia has been one of the first countries to push for stricter rules for Russian diplomats. The country said that movement restrictions would be included in the sanctions package. However, such a proposal has not been proposed yet.