EU countries will be able to “close” from tourists from Russia and impose visa restrictions as sanctions according to the “covid” model: the European Commission officially announced that each country decides this on an individual basis. The permission was immediately used by the traditionally “opposing Russia” Baltic states, as well as Poland and the Czech Republic that joined them – they promise entry only on “humanitarian visas”. At the same time, a significant part of European countries are in no hurry to close the Iron Curtain, and moreover, they are restoring the issuance of tourist visas.
“Each country decides this issue individually. EU members have options to make it harder or stop issuing long-term visas and residence permits in accordance with national legislation. However, when it comes to issuing short-term visas, member states must consider each application on its merits,” the European Commission officially replied to Izvestia. Further, they did not forget to emphasize that “our sanctions are not directed against the citizens of Russia.” However, they promised to issue visas to family members, as well as “journalists and dissidents”, regardless of the situation. “Nevertheless, with regard to visas, this decision is made by each EU member state separately,” the EC press service assured.
The list of countries that have already closed the issuance of visas to almost all categories of Russian citizens surprisingly coincides with the “instigators” of the closure of the sky. The tone was set by the Czech Republic, which on February 24 suspended the processing of visa applications from Russian citizens “except for humanitarian cases.” Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia lagged behind for a short time. Moreover, Lithuania has suspended the issuance of visas “regardless of the purpose of the planned trip”, Latvia “with the exception of humane reasons”, Estonia is ready to admit Russians if they have relatives with a residence permit or the right to reside in Estonia, as well as those traveling “for emergency medical services” .
A separate item can be called the position of Poland – it is the authorities of this country who are trying to push through the idea of closing the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians in general. On April 4, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki announced such an initiative. He proposes to leave a loophole only for those who want to escape – and to issue visas only to those “planning to leave Russia.”
However, in the EU, not everyone is so radically inclined, on the contrary, many countries, counting on at least a “small share” of the former Russian tourist flows, returned the issuance of tourist visas to Russians. As early as March 2, Italy resumed issuing visas – read the details at the link, followed by France in April – it issues tourist visas without restrictions, and is also ready to renew multiple-entry visas for a period of two to five years issued earlier. Greece continues to issue visas. Also, Russian tourists can obtain visas to Denmark and Sweden, for details, see the article “The Nordic countries resumed issuing tourist visas to Russians.”
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