At the moment, there is no decision at the European level that would make it possible to stop issuing Schengen visas to Russian citizens, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Burger told DW on Monday, August 1.
Burger recalled that since February 25, the decision of the Council on Foreign Relations on the partial cancellation of the visa facilitation agreement with Russia has been in effect at the EU level – especially this concerns the abolition of visa-free entry for holders of diplomatic passports and the abolition of the facilitated procedure for members of parliament and government.
“With regard to the issuance of visas, the abolition of the issuance of Schengen visas can only be introduced on the basis of consensus between all countries of the Schengen agreement, and at the moment there is no such decision,” Burger said.
Estonia urges EU not to issue visas to Russians
At the end of July, the Estonian government approved the resolution, which prohibits granting Russian citizens temporary residence permits or visas for the purpose of studying in the country. The Estonian authorities have also banned citizens of Russia and Belarus from getting a job if they have a residence permit granted by another EU member state.
“The continuation of sanctions against Russia is necessary to ensure unrelenting pressure on the country. If sanctions help stop Russian aggression, this will positively affect our own security,” the Estonian Foreign Ministry explained the decision.
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that at the end of August, at a meeting with EU foreign ministers, Estonia will propose block the Russians from entering and completely stop issuing visas at the EU level. According to Reinsalu, a similar discussion is underway in the Finnish government. In addition to Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic also reported the suspension of visa issuance.
The head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, Edgars Rinkevich, also called on the European Union to take this step. “The EU should treat Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, I reiterate the proposal to introduce a ban on EU tourist visas for Russian citizens,” he tweeted on July 30.
In February and March with the same proposals Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki and Minister of Refugees of Belgium Sammy Mahdi spoke.
The European Commission ruled out a complete ban on issuing visas to Russians
In the European Commission when asked whether the EU could decide not to grant tourist visas to Russians, they stressed that EU rules do not allow a complete cessation of visas for Russian citizens, and EU sanctions are directed “first and foremost” against the Russian government and economic elite.
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 who need to be issued visas. We are talking about humanitarian cases, family members (EU citizens. – Ed.), journalists and dissidents,” the European Commission said.