EU member pledges to continue welcoming Russians
Hungary will continue issuing Schengen visas to Russian citizens, despite the process becoming more complicated, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Friday.
In an interview with TASS news agency, Szijjarto explained that the recent suspension of a visa facilitation agreement with Moscow by the EU doesn’t mean a visa ban.
“There was no decision that we should stop issuing Schengen visas to Russians,” Szijjarto said.
The minister admitted that the absence of the visa facilitation agreement makes granting visas “a more complicated and slightly longer procedure” than when such an agreement existed.
“But if there is none, this does not mean that we do not issue visas. Of course, we will continue issuing visas in accordance with the procedure," the minister said.
Szijjarto’s remarks came the same day his Finnish colleague, Pekka Haavisto, announced a ban on entry for Russians with tourist visas, regardless of whether these visas had been issued by Finland or by any other Schengen country.
Helsinki’s decision followed a sharp increase in the flow of Russian citizens to Finland amid an ongoing partial mobilization of reservists in Russia.
In response to Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine, several EU states imposed various visa restrictions on Russian citizens, while three Baltic states and Poland have closed their borders to all Russians with short-stay Schengen visas.