Three European countries simultaneously made recommendations on restrictions for tourists from Russia. Finland has put forward six options, including tightening entry permits for relatives of residents for good reason and revoking previously issued visas. Estonia has already stopped issuing visas and residence permits, and also tightened the rules on the employment of Russians. Poland supported the actions of other European countries and recalled its commitment to “wide-ranging sanctions”. Previously, Latvia and Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Denmark have taken the relevant decisions.
Information on the Finnish government’s proposal was circulated by the YLE publication. According to the publication, Jussi Tanner, head of the consular office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland suggested Six options for restrictions for Russian tourists.
According to Tanner, there is the option to stop issuing visas to Russians altogether, but this is prohibited by EU law and Schengen area rules. It also includes limiting the number of accepted visa applications, allowing residents’ relatives to enter the country for good reason (funeral, medical treatment, etc.).
Also, Tanner suggested that all visas issued be cancelled. Although this does not comply with the norms of the EU and Finland. The sixth option could be a joint decision of the European Union, where Finland will announce the direction of its tourism policy.
On July 15, Finland opened its border with Russia, and about 7,000 Russian tourists are currently arriving in the country.
On July 28, the European Commission noted that they do not allow a complete ban on the issuance of Schengen visas to citizens of the Russian Federation, because “visas must be available for certain categories”. The evaluation of visa applications is within the competence of the Member States.”
On July 28, the Estonian government approved restrictions under which citizens of the Russian Federation can no longer apply for a temporary residence permit or visa for study purposes in the country. The new decision clarifies the sanctions that were previously adopted.
In addition, short-term employment will no longer be registered for Russians and Belarusians holding a legal residence permit issued by another EU member. It will no longer be possible to apply for a long-term visa for short-term employment.
“With this change, we will put an end to the situation where a short-term Schengen visa is requested from another member country, for example, for tourism purposes, in order to circumvent the current sanction,” said Urmas Reinsalu, Estonian Foreign Minister.
29 July, Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller supported Decisions of European countries on tourism policy regarding Russians, in particular the possible termination of the issuance of Schengen visas.
“Poland is fully committed to far-reaching sanctions. That’s why we support such actions, especially those initiated by our partners from Central and Eastern Europe.”
Immediately after the start of a special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, Latvia and Lithuania suspended the issuance of visas to Russian citizens “as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine and its people”.
At the same time, the Czech Republic decided to suspend the issuance of visas to Russian citizens. Authorities also visited the Russian Consulate General in Karlovy Vary and Brno and St. They decided to close their diplomatic missions in Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. The country recalled its ambassadors to Russia and Belarus. On June 23, the Czech Republic decided that Russians and Belarusians will not be granted visas and residence permits until the end of March 2023.
On March 10, Estonia decided to suspend issuing visas to Russians. On May 30, the Danish Embassy in Russia suspended the acceptance of documents for short-stay visas and residence permits.
Moscow does not accept
On July 27, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to a series of Finnish parliamentarians’ attempts to stop issuing Schengen visas to Russians. statedHe said the Russian Federation would take appropriate retaliatory measures. He reminded that in a country known to claim to be a leader in promoting international cooperation in the field of ensuring rights and freedoms, there are discussions on restricting the movement of citizens of other countries.
“Restricting the travel of Russian citizens for political reasons will be another step towards exacerbating the conflict in bilateral relations,” Zakharova said in a statement.
On July 26, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that it is difficult to exclude EU actions to issue visas to Russians. He added that Moscow would respond if the EU or individual countries agreed to restrictions on Russian citizens, but Russia wanted to hope for “a small share of maintaining smart thinking” among its opponents.