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9 Sep, 2022 14:16

Estonian MEP complains to EU about entry ban for Russians

Tallinn and three other bloc members are violating the Schengen agreement with the “blanket ban” of Russian citizens, the lawmaker wrote
Estonian MEP complains to EU about entry ban for Russians

Estonian MEP Yana Toom has accused her own nation’s government along with those of Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland of violating the EU’s ‘free travel’ rules by imposing a “blanket ban” on Russian citizens holding valid Schengen visas issued by other EU members.

The restrictions, which were announced by the four nations earlier this week, “constitute a breach of the Schengen Border Code and seriously undermine the European legal order,” Toom wrote in a Thursday letter to Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief for foreign policy and security. The Estonian lawmaker shared the document on her social media on Friday.

The Schengen ‘free travel’ rules, which apply to most EU nations and four non-EU states, allow individual members to bar holders of visas issued by other participants from their territory.

But such decisions must be taken on a case-by-case basis and for a limited number of reasons, the Estonian official argued, so a general policy against Russian citizens violated them. Toom asked Borrell when the European Commission was going to send a formal letter of notice to the four nations.

The Baltic countries and Poland said they would no longer allow entry to Russian tourists holding Schengen visas starting September 19. The blanket ban makes an exception for travel on humanitarian grounds.

The four nations argued that Russian citizens generally posed a threat to their national security. The Baltic states had previously stopped issuing tourist and business visas to Russian citizens. 

Toom has served as an MEP from Estonia since 2014 and is a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

As she published her letter to Borrell, she remarked that there was a backlash against her position in the Estonian media, with critics branding her as pro-Russian.