The Finnish authorities, represented by President Sauli Niiniste, demanded to tighten visa entry rules for Russian citizens who own real estate in the country of lakes. His argument is that visas are not a subjective right, even despite the presence of real estate.
Recall that Finland has already tightened visa rules for Russians applying for a tourist visa. However, such a measure was not considered sufficient and Niiniste said that he would consider further tightening restrictions for Russian citizens applying for a Schengen visa.
Moreover, he urged legislators to consider repealing the rule that would make it easier for Russians who own real estate in Finland to obtain a visa. As the Finnish media explained, if this rule is lifted, Russians will be less willing to buy property in Finland, which will therefore lead to fewer Russians entering the country.
In addition to the above, the President also noted that he believes it is justified to exercise discretion regarding tourist visas. “Visas are not a subjective right. So there is room for discretion, and, especially with regard to tourist visas, it is quite justified to use discretion,” he said at the Association of Political Journalists event.
Earlier from September 1, Finland began to apply tougher measures for Russians applying for a visa. Thus, the country has significantly reduced the number of visas issued to our fellow citizens, and currently accepts no more than 100 visa applications per day. This means that the number of visas issued to Russian tourists has decreased by 90 percent.
At the end of August, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto noted that the country had decided to make such a decision because it did not want to become a transit country for Russian citizens wishing to enter other EU countries.
While Finland only tightened visa rules, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have already agreed to stop issuing visas to Russians and ban them from entering their territory from Monday, September 19th. The foreign ministers of these four countries explained that the introduction of Russophobic measures is necessary to reduce the flow of Russian tourists to the EU and eliminate the mythical threat to politics and security.
“Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have agreed on a common regional approach and hereby express their political will and firm intention to introduce temporary national measures for Russian citizens with EU visas,” the part of their joint statement said.
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