A country like Russia, waging a war of aggression, should not qualify for visa facilitations as long as it continues conducting its destructive foreign policy and military aggression towards Ukraine, demonstrating a complete disregard to the international rules-based order. The suspension is in response to increased risks and threats to the Union's security interests and the national security of the Member States as result of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. This means that Russian citizens will no longer enjoy privileged access to the EU and face a lengthier, more expensive and more difficult visa application process. Member States will have wide discretion in processing short-stay visa applications from Russian citizens, and will be able to ensure greater scrutiny in respect of Russian nationals travelling to the EU. The EU will remain open to certain categories of Russian visa applicants travelling for essential purposes, including notably family members of EU citizens, journalists, dissidents and civil society representatives.
The Commission is also presenting today a proposal on the non-recognition of Russian passports issued in occupied areas of Ukraine.
These proposals follow the political agreement reached by Foreign Affairs Ministers at their informal meeting of 31 August on a common and coordinated way forward when it comes to visa issuance for Russian citizens.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson said:
“Russia continues to violate international law with its illegal military actions, committing atrocities against Ukrainians and undermining European and global security and stability. These actions breach the fundamental principles on which the Visa Facilitation Agreement was concluded and go against the interests of the EU and its Member States. Today's proposal shows a strong and united EU response. We will soon follow up with additional guidelines to ensure enhanced scrutiny on visa applications and border crossings by Russian citizens, without cutting ourselves from Russian dissidents and civil society.”
It is now for the Council to examine and adopt the proposal to suspend the Visa Facilitation Agreement. Once adopted, the suspension will enter into force on the second day following its publication in the EU Official Journal.. Russia will be notified of the decision on suspension no later than 48 hours before its entry into force.
It is for the European Parliament and the Council to decide on the proposal on the non-recognition of Russian travel documents issued in occupied foreign regions. The measures will enter into force on the first day following that of their publication in the EU Official Journal.
The Commission will soon present additional guidelines to support Member States' consulates when it comes to general visa issues with Russia, including to implement the suspension of the Visa Facilitation Agreement.
For More Information
Proposal for a Council Decision on the suspension of the application of the EU-Russia Visa Facilitation Agreement
Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on the non-recognition of Russian travel documents issued in occupied foreign regions
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