EU rules do not allow for a complete cessation of visa issuance Russian citizens. The European Commission (EC) stressed that the EU sanctions are aimed “primarily and specifically” against the government and the economic elite of the Russian Federation. This is stated in publications of Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat from Thursday, July 28.
The response was given to a journalists’ question whether the EU as a whole could decide not to grant tourist visas to Russians.
The EC indicated that the consideration of applications for short-term Schengen visas is the prerogative of the member states of the community, which must make a decision on each document “individually.”
European Commission announces exceptions
The verification procedure is designed to identify whether the applicant can jeopardize public order, national security or international relations of the EU member state, the Commission explained.
The current rules of the European Union do not allow a complete cessation of the provision of visas, stressed in Brussels. “There are always groups of people to whom visas must be issued. We are talking about humanitarian cases, family members (citizens of EU countries. – Ed.), journalists and dissidents,” the EC said.
In Finland, it is important that the EU has a common position
Earlier, the first vice-chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Finland, Niina Malm, said that the government should evaluate possible restrictions on the issuance of tourist visas to Russians. The politician considers it important that the EU and countries Schengen area there was a unified position on this issue, the Finnish state broadcaster Yle reported.
“Both for the unity of the EU, and for the effectiveness of actions directed against Russia, it is important that the countries of the European Union have a unified position,” Malm said. At the same time, she is sure that it is necessary to make exceptions for those who travel to Finland to visit relatives or for medical reasons. Exceptions should also apply to representatives of the opposition, the politician believes.
The head of the consular department of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, Jussi Tanner, in turn, believes that the number of tourist visas issued to Russians can be reduced in practice by accepting fewer applications. Many applications are already being rejected, Tanner said.
Estonia to stop granting temporary residence permits to Russians
On the same day, the Estonian government approved a decree that prohibits the provision of Russian citizens temporary residence permit or visas for the purpose of studying in that country.
In addition, citizens of Russia and Belarus will be able to obtain a short-term work permit only if the visa issued by Estonia is valid.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu stressed that Moscow’s “unjustified war” against Kyiv not only grossly violates the “territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence” of Ukraine, but also threatens the security of Estonia and the EU.