Although Estonia has stopped issuing Schengen visas to Russian tourists, those who have previously managed to issue permits go to the Baltic country (details here). But the former republic of the USSR wants to “cut off the oxygen” for these travelers too. However, Estonia alone will not be able to stop the entry of tourists from Russia into the country and their further journey to Europe, complained the Minister of the Interior of Estonia Lauri Läänemets.
According to him, the current Schengen visa rules do not allow stopping entry to the Baltic countries people who have been issued a visa by another Schengen country. As noted by Schengenvisainfo, this issue should be resolved at the European level.
On July 15, the Russian authorities lifted all restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus and its new varieties. Thus, the Estonian authorities received more of our compatriots. Despite the fact that these figures are not comparable to pre-docian figures, the Estonian authorities are nervous even about the limited number of tourists, or rather, the very possibility of ordinary Russian travelers using Estonian territory as a window to Europe.
On the other hand, due to the start of the special operation of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, the Estonian authorities have practically stopped issuing visas to Russian citizens. At the same time, the governments of other European countries did not prohibit the issuance of visas to our fellow citizens. According to the minister, only Estonia does not have the right to prohibit entry into the country to persons who have received visas from other countries that do not have borders, as well as those previously issued.
“We have a common Schengen area, which means that people who have visas from other countries can come to Estonia and often use it as a transit country,” the minister stressed. He lamented that his country could do little on its own in this matter. What Estonia can really do is to deprive Russian citizens who come to Estonia on a Schengen visa of another country of the opportunity to work. The Minister has already voiced the corresponding proposal.
However, the Estonian official wants to keep Estonia “on two chairs” and does not consider it a good option to close the borders of the northern European state with Russia. “The problem is that some people, including Estonian citizens, need to be able to cross the border. A certain level of trade also still takes place,” he stressed.
The official noted that the only way to limit the entry of Russian tourists to Estonia is to impose EU-wide sanctions. “Sanctions against Russia should be universal and consistent across Europe. If the Baltic countries and Poland remain the only ones, the effect of the sanctions will be much less,” the minister quoted the publication as saying.
Recall that against the backdrop of the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, the European Union introduced restrictive measures and sanctions against Russia. In particular, the EU Council imposed personal sanctions against Russians.
Earlier, Turprom wrote that “No transit, no shopping: Finland supports the ban on tourist visas for Russians.”
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