Politico: France and Germany have proposed the EU to make issuing visas to Russians more expensive and slower Paris and Berlin called on the rest of the EU to fight for the “hearts and minds” of Russians and believe that a complete ban on issuing visas will not help this fight. Instead, they propose to complicate the process of obtaining entry documents
< img class="aligncenter" src="https://s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/media/img/6/27/756618374921276.jpg" alt="Politico learned about the idea to raise visa prices for Russians and slow down issuance"/>
Instead of a complete cessation of issuing visas to Russians, EU countries may agree to slow down and increase the cost of this process, writes Politico with reference to a letter that Germany and France sent to other countries ahead of an informal meeting of foreign ministers.
Visa ban will cause Russians to turn their backs on Europe, while the EU must wage a “strategic struggle” for “hearts and minds” population of Russia— “at least those parts of it that have not completely turned away from the West,” point out Paris and Berlin.
Earlier, Bloomberg, citing a letter circulated by the two countries, reported that they urged not to underestimate “the transformative power of the experience of living in democratic states, especially for future generations.”
The authorities of some other EU countries, such as Estonia, do not agree with them. Prime Minister Kaya Kallas told Politico that a ban on tourist visas to Russians would harm Russia but not harm Europe, and Moscow fears such a measure because it will affect the elites. “Even in autocracies, citizens are still responsible for the actions of the state,” she is convinced. Callas considers visiting Europe “a privilege, not a right.” Estonia has already stopped letting Russian citizens with Schengen visas issued by the republic into its territory and calls for such a measure to be introduced at the EU level.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell doubted that all countries would unanimously support a complete visa ban. He himself does not believe that such a measure would be effective.
At a ministerial meeting in Prague, it is planned to discuss a compromise option proposed by the Czech Republic: to suspend the simplified visa regime with Russia and Belarus, which, according to the EU, supports the military operation in Ukraine. This means that the citizens of these countries will have to collect more documents for applying for a visa, their applications will be processed longer, and the visa fee will increase from €35 to €80. The Financial Times wrote that the EU countries are likely to support this idea.
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Partly simplified visa regime has been suspended since February 28. The decision concerns entrepreneurs, members of official delegations, the government and parliament, the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, and holders of diplomatic passports.