31 Aug 2022 17:53

Suspension of EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement to substantially reduce number of visas issued to Russians - Borrell

BRUSSELS. Aug 31 (Interfax) - Suspension of the visa facilitation agreement between the European Union and Russia will significantly reduce the number of visas issued to Russian citizens, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Wednesday.

"This will significantly reduce the number of new visas issued by the EU member states," Borrell said following the informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers (Gymnich format) in Prague.

"[The process] is going to be more difficult and longer and consequently the number of new visas will be substantially reduced," he said.

"And this is a common approach [that] will prevent potential visa shopping by Russians going here and there trying to look for better conditions," Borrell added.

At the same time, the EU diplomacy chief said that the EU does not want to cut itself off from Russian citizens.

"We don't want to cut ourselves off from the Russian civil society," Borrell said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that the EU would not impose a complete ban on visas for Russians, but intends to abolish the visa facilitation agreement with Russia.

Also on Wednesday, The Financial Times reported that Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are willing to take measures at the national level to make Russians use their territories less to enter the Schengen zone.