EU FMs may consider freezing visa dialogue with Russia over Ukrainian crisis
This measure is contained in a draft final document for the meeting and may affect further facilitation of the visa regime or abolish the practice of issuing short-term visas to Russian citizens.
The European Union issued 5.940 million Shchengen visas to Russians in 2012, a million more than in the previous year, Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said earlier this year. Russia issued about two million visas to EU citizens in 2012. Chizhov said he did not have data for 2013.
It’s the European Union’s turn to make the decision on visa-free travel with Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a meeting with his EU colleagues in Brussels in the middle of December 2013.
“There are several issues on our agenda we need to get off the ground. Our priority is the dialogue on visa-free travel, which has been on for more than eight years,” the minister said.
“In recent years, it has acquired concrete outlines: a list of joint steps has been agreed, which we and our European partners should take in order to ensure the security of travel documents and strict control on the border so that our citizens could visit each other calmly and safely,” Lavrov said, adding, “It’s the European Union’s turn to act.”
“We are convinced, and we can advise our leaders to make an announcement, that it’s time we started drafting an agreement on visa-free travel for short trips by Russian citizens and citizens of the EU countries that are members of the Schengen Area,” Lavrov said.
He said Russia had provided the European Commission with a report on the implementation of “joint steps” as part of the efforts to facilitate the visa regime. “Our partners promised to send us their report in the near future,” he added.
Lavrov earlier urged the ambassadors of 28 EU countries to speed up the transition to visa-free travel.
Russia is ready to abolish visas for EU citizens and it is now the European Union’s turn to act, he said.
“Facilitating mutual trips for our citizens as much as possible is a pressing task. They should have an opportunity to travel freely and unhindered. In this case dialogue between our civil societies and contacts between people would be much more intensive,” the minister said.
“We are prepared for that. Now it's the turn of our partners in the European Union to act. I am convinced that people are on our side,” Lavrov said.
“Everyone should take an unbiased look at what hinders further advancement of future-oriented bilateral relations and give up outdated ideological stereotypes and dogmas, prejudiced assessments and far-fetched claims,” he said.
Lavrov assured the audience that Russia sincerely wished the European Union success and prosperity. “We are interested in our own development and the EU is our largest partner in investment and cultural cooperation,” the minister said, adding that Moscow would like to have even more intensive ties with the EU.
The EU and Russia have been negotiating the possibility of a visa-free regime for many years. For this purpose the “Common steps towards visa free short-term travel of Russian and EU citizens” were agreed at the EU-Russia Summit in December 2011.
These “steps” are a kind of “roadmap” and foresee detailed work resulting in concrete actions in four blocks.
There is no target date or automaticity for the visa free-regime to begin, but an open-ended dialogue, guided by senior officials from both EU and Russia to review progress on the “Common Steps” and examine how the long-term aim of visa free travel can be achieved in practice. A number of expert meetings are in progress and the work is proceeding according to the schedule.
Travelling between the EU and Russia was made easier in 2007 when the EU-Russia Visa Facilitation Agreement entered into force. This agreement lowered the visa fee, made obtaining multiple-entry visas easier, simplified the list of supporting documents required, and waived visas for diplomats. A joint EU-Russia committee oversees the proper functioning of the agreement.
To make travelling even easier the EU and Russia are negotiating amendments to the existing agreement. The aim is to sign an Updated Visa Facilitation Agreement that will further facilitate travelling of citizens by providing a multi-year and multi-entry visa to more categories of ordinary and frequent travellers.
The EU and Russia have also signed the Readmission Agreement that entered into force in 2007 and establishes the principles and procedures for the transfer of persons, who have been found to enter, stay or reside illegally in the territory of the EU or Russia.
Related news releases
- 28.09.2016Putin due in Turkey on Oct 11 - UPDATED
- 28.09.2016“CIS countries facing new elements of threat”
- 27.09.2016Moscow makes public full text of Russia-US deal on Syria
- 25.09.2016'US apologized to Assad' for killing troops: Russian FM
- 23.09.2016Kyrgyzstan's president arrives in Moscow for treatment
- 23.09.2016Russian FM: "We will continue our work to guarantee the ceasefire in Syria"
- 23.09.2016Moscow says Russia will not bargain with EU over sanctions at UN General Assembly
- 22.09.2016US, Russia stand ready to provide Lethal aid to Libyan Security Forces
- 21.09.2016Armenian soldier faints during parade in Yerevan - VIDEO
- 21.09.2016Russian FM: "Russia, Arab Gulf States may jointly improve situation in Middle East"
- 20.09.2016Russian MoD Releases Footage of Attacked UN Aid Convoy in Syria's Aleppo - VIDEO
- 20.09.2016Son of Armenia’s Gyumri mayor candidate found dead
- 19.09.2016Kyrgyz president cuts short visit to New York for health reasons
- 19.09.2016Russia may create Ministry for State Security
- 19.09.2016Armenian author expresses regret over lack of schools in country
- 19.09.2016Armenia experiencing Karabakhization process, says expert
- 19.09.2016Russian Duma election results may be canceled in three ballot stations
- 18.09.2016Medvedev Announces United Russia Party’s Victory in 2016 Parliamentary Elections
- 18.09.2016Washington does not fulfill its commitments on Syria — Russian Foreign Ministry
- 18.09.2016Russian Foreign Ministry: White House 'Defending the Islamic State' Terrorists
- 17.09.2016Armenia defense minister to turn down offer to become CSTO chief
- 17.09.2016Russia suggests holding next CIS summit in Moscow
- 16.09.2016Russia to chair CIS in 2017
- 16.09.2016Lavrov: Ankara beginning to abandon ultimatums on Assad’s fate
- 16.09.2016Bishkek hosts meeting of CIS Council of Foreign Ministers
- 16.09.2016Acting Uzbek president nominated for December 4 poll
- 15.09.2016Armenian prisoner escapes on way to court
- 15.09.2016A large number of cartridges stolen from Armenia military warehouse
- 14.09.2016Russian Finance Ministry proposes to reduce funding of public media
- 14.09.2016New Turkmen Constitution adopted, presidential term extended to 7 years
- 14.09.2016Russian hackers leak Simone Biles and Serena Williams files
- 13.09.2016Armenia's new prime minister appointed
- 13.09.2016Estonian President Appoints Jurgen Ligi as New Foreign Minister
- 13.09.2016Ukraine says prepared to hold 'good faith' talks with Russia on $3 billion debt
- 12.09.2016Armenian defense minister likely to become new CSTO chief – report
- 11.09.2016Russia waiting for remaining permits on Turkish Stream in coming days - source
- 09.09.2016Kazakh president appoints new PM
- 09.09.2016Sargsyan again relies on ‘Karabakh clan’ – media
- 09.09.2016Uzbekistan presidential election set for Dec. 4
- 08.09.2016Armenia ruling party approves candidacy for the post of PM
- 03.03.2014Source: Sevastopol residents are not going to storm the Ukrainian Navy headquarters
- 04.03.2014Situation in Ukraine hits Poland's economy: central bank head
- 04.03.2014Putin: “For the time being there is no need to deploy troops in Crimea, but there is such an opportunity”
- 03.03.2014St. Petersburg ready to provide employment to the former members of Berkut
- 03.03.2014The Russian Black Sea Fleet no plans to launch an assault on Ukrainian military units in Crimea
- 03.03.2014Russia gives Ukraine ultimatum: surrender Crimea bases or face military assault