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31 Aug, 2022 16:03

EU discloses which Russians will still get visas

The bloc does not want to cut itself off from Russia’s “civil society," a leading official explains
EU discloses which Russians will still get visas

The EU will continue granting visas to “specific groups" of Russians, the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell said on Wednesday. The official made the remarks at a press conference after the EU’s foreign ministers opted to fully suspend an agreement with Moscow that allowed Russian citizens to apply for EU visas under a simplified procedure.

“There is a common understanding that this will allow for visas to be granted on an individual basis [after] a thorough assessment of each individual case, and especially for specific groups of people,” Borrell stated.

The diplomat did not provide exact details on the specific groups in question, signaling, however, that visas will be issued primarily to opponents of Russia’s current political leadership. 

“We do not want to cut ourselves from those Russians who are against the war in Ukraine. We do not want to cut ourselves from the Russian civil society,” he said.

Borrell did not provide any time frame for when exactly the visa agreement with Russia would be suspended. The move constitutes a step up in the EU’s policies amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as the bloc had previously suspended issuing visas only to specific Russian individuals, he said.

“Until now, it was partially suspended for special collectives, groups of people – officials, entrepreneurs – and now it is fully suspended,” Borrell said. “It means that it will significantly reduce the number of new visas issued by the EU Member States. [The process] is going to be more difficult, it is going to be longer. And consequently, the number of new visas will be substantially reduced.”