Last Wednesday, during an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, EU foreign ministers agreed to completely cancel the visa facilitation agreement with Russia, thereby putting an end to the easy life of Russian tourists choosing Europe for leisure and shopping. Let's take a look at the consequences for Russians with the introduction of the change, the date of which has not yet been indicated.
“The European Union will terminate its visa facilitation agreement with Russia. All that is needed for this is a qualified majority of the Member States, and from today's speeches it became clear that it exists,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said at a press conference following the EU meeting.
One thing is clear – the abolition of the visa facilitation agreement between the Russian Federation and the bloc will complicate and increase the cost of entry to the EU countries for Russian tourists. But there is good news – the countries could not agree on a complete ban on the issuance of short-term visas for tourist trips. In addition, there was no single result on the cancellation of previously issued multiple-entry visas. This means that Russian tourists can still cross EU borders until their visa expires.
What's in store for Russians?
Freezing the agreement will entail the most inconvenient conditions for processing documents. The main task of the changes is to force Russian tourists to give up and give up the trip. A larger goal is to encourage a change in views on the current policy of the country. With the abolition of agreements, the expected reality for our fellow citizens is:
- The number of long-term and multiple-entry visas will be cut or stopped altogether. A visa can be replaced, issued only for travel dates. This is the so-called one-time or one-time Schengen.
- The processing time for visa applications will increase to 6 months.
- Russians will be required to present more documents to apply.
- All this will be associated with increased costs. The updated amount of the visa fee is already known. It will more than double from €35 to €80.
The informal meeting of 27 European Foreign Ministers attracted attention not only with the topics of the meeting, but also with cautious statements by the leaders of countries who do not want to burn bridges in tourism relations with the Russian Federation. For example, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that his country does not see Russian tourists as a security threat, and therefore will not support the proposal to close entry to Russian citizens even with Schengen visas.
Reference: An agreement between Russia and the European bloc on the facilitation of issuing visas to citizens of the Russian Federation and the European Union was signed on May 25, 2006. Legally approved by Russia on March 7, 2007, and entered into force on June 1 of the same year. According to the document, tourists with a Russian passport were entitled to use the simplified procedure for issuing single-entry visas valid for up to 3 months and multiple-entry visas if they fit certain categories of people. According to the European Commission, Russians are more likely than other nationalities to apply for a visa to the Schengen countries.
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