BRUSSELS, 12 Sep. (DPA/EP) –
Russian citizens have lost access to the European Union’s visa facilitation agreement with Russia on Monday, so permits to travel through the Schengen area from this day on are more difficult to obtain and cost 80 euros.
The EU approved on Friday the proposal made by the European Commission following the political agreement of the foreign ministers, who discussed this issue in Prague the previous week at the proposal of the Baltic partners and Finland.
In practice, this decision means that the visa application fee will cost 80 euros, from the current 35 euros, it will be necessary to present more documents, there will be longer processing times and more restrictive rules for the issuance of multiple entry permits.
Tightening rules could lead to visa applications being denied and even current visas revoked. The EU guidelines give states wide discretionary powers, as well as a basis for a more detailed examination of applications.
The option of suspending the visa facilitation agreement with Russia was the meeting point between EU countries that called for a total ban, such as Finland and the Baltics, and those receiving tourism that claim to be more selective. However, the European Commission has allowed member states to impose additional restrictions and deny entry to people they consider to be a risk to their security.
From the EU they allege that the agreement that existed from 2007 until this Monday, is established only with countries with which a relationship of trust is maintained and values are shared, some bridges that Russia has broken with the military invasion of Ukraine. Shortly after Russian troops entered Ukrainian territory on February 24, this agreement was suspended for Russian businessmen, government representatives and diplomats.