Financial Times: EU states prepare to suspend

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The desire of the Baltics seems to be slowly becoming a reality, despite the obstacles coming from Germany, Austria and Hungary. The member states of the European Union are preparing to suspend the 2007 agreement with Russia regarding the facilitation of obtaining visas, writes the Financial Times, taken over by dpa. This does not mean the total ban applied to Russians from entering the EU space, but it is a major obstacle in the free movement of Russians through Europe.

The European foreign ministers are to politically support a decision in this regard at the unofficial meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in Prague, says the cited daily, based on the statements of three officials involved in the dialogue on this topic.

The measure would extend the partial suspension imposed in February on Russian officials and businessmen to include ordinary Russian citizens, the Financial Times reports.

The suspension would complicate the process of granting visas in the EU, and the procedures would become more expensive and bureaucratic. It would also increase the waiting periods for approval, according to the instructions of the European Commission.

According to the quoted source, other restrictions on the movements of Russian citizens have not yet been decided, such as limiting the number of visas granted by the EU or the total ban on Russians traveling to Europe.

The Czech Republic, Finland and Estonia, which have already restricted the granting of visas to Russians, are asking the EU to completely ban their access, but Germany and the European Commission are opposed.

The visa granted by any member state allows access to all 26 European member states of the Schengen Area.

And in Romania, the opposition parties (USR, PMP and Forța Dreptei) made a petition to the head of the Government where they demanded that Romania no longer grant visas to Russian citizens.