The six most popular tourist countries are likely to oppose the ban on issuing Schengen visas to Russian tourists. They will include France, Italy and Spain, Greece, Hungary and, with a chance, Germany. This assessment of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) was presented by experts from the travel industry.
“Experts interviewed by ATOR believe that, at a minimum, Hungary, France, Greece, Italy and Spain will oppose the visa ban,” market experts said. In all these countries, in pre-Soviet times, the Russian market was a significant part of the tourist flow.
Also, experts are sure, Germany, where a large Russian diaspora lives, will not support this decision. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also, recall, opposed the ban on tourist visas to the countries of the European Union for all Russians, adding that this would not increase the effect of sanctions, but vice versa.
Recall that so far the ban on entry and issuance of visas is being “pushed through” by the Baltic states. In particular, Estonia and Latvia are the soloists, joined by Finland, Poland and the Czech Republic.
We add that the Spanish newspaper El Mundo has already published a comment according to which the abolition of visas would be contrary to the Schengen Agreement itself. The European Commission delegated decisions to ban the entry of Russian citizens to the national authorities of the participating countries, the publication recalls. And most importantly, the Schengen system itself allows Russian citizens to enter and leave the territories of the Schengen countries. “The Schengen Free Movement Code guarantees every person with a visa issued by any of the 26 members free movement within the territories of the agreement countries for 90 days,” the publication's experts say. Meanwhile, the ban has already been introduced by the “Russophobic division” of the European Union, including Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic, they are “pushing through” this idea in Finland, and the Estonian authorities are calling for depriving all Russian tourists of the “privilege to visit Europe” without exception. Read more at this link.
Note that the “gates to Europe” for Russian tourists through the Tallinn airport still closed. The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the closure of the borders for Russians, and the authorities at the border began to prohibit the entry of Russians with a Schengen visa. We are talking about tourists with a Schengen visa, previously issued to them by Estonia itself – what to do with the rest of the visas is not yet clear. “In a week, a sanction will be applied to Schengen visas issued by Estonia. Restrictions will be imposed on holders of visas from Russia, they will be prohibited from entering Estonia,” said Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
There is a risk that Finland will follow suit. At least, the statements from her sound similar. “Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right. Air traffic from Russia has been suspended. This means that while the Schengen countries issue visas, Russia's neighbors bear the burden (Finland, Estonia, Latvia are the only access points),” the Prime Minister published a Russophobic post on Twitter last Tuesday (blocked and banned on the territory of the Russian Federation). Minister of Estonia Kaya Kallas. And Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told the state TV channel Yle: “It is wrong that while Russia is conducting a special operation, Russians can live a normal life, travel around Europe, be tourists. It is not right”. Read the details at the link.
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