EU states bordering Russia searching for ways to halt tourist entry
Member States bordering with the Russian Federation, including Estonia, are actively holding talks to find jointly ways to limit scope for Russian citizens entering the European Union through their territory.
Ministry of the Interior spokesperson Veiko Pesur, told ERR that: "The regulatory basis for this is in place. We have two options for imposing a restriction - a national sanction, which is established via government regulation, or a restriction on crossing the state border, which requires a government order,
"At present, the border states are cooperating rapidly to reach a joint decision," he added.
However, Pesur could not state when an agreement might be reached, but made it clear that a consensus is expected in the next few days.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland wish to curb Russian citizens' tourist visa entries into the EU, on the grounds that the citizens of a country that had attacked Ukraine without basis also have no moral right to go on vacation in Europe, while Ukrainians are being killed in defense of their homeland.
While the EU suspended civilian aviation entry from Russia soon after the start of the current war, Russian citizens have been utilizing land-based transport to reach Europe and to enter the Schengen Area through Russia's neighboring EU states.
The EU foreign ministers failed to reach a consensus on limiting the entry of Russian tourists, at a meeting held in Prague this week, instead leaving the border countries the right to deal with the issue independently.
However, the foreign ministers did agree to suspend the visa facilitation agreement signed with Russia in 2007, which allowed Russian citizens to obtain a Schengen Visa faster, cheaper and more easily.
Estonia has barred entry to Russian citizens holding Schengen visas issued by Estonia itself, but has not done so in respect of Schengen visas issued by other member states.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte