EU set to suspend visa facilitation agreement with Russia: Report

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EU foreign ministers are set to back a suspension of the bloc’s visa facilitation agreement with Moscow, the Financial Times reported, citing three officials involved in talks.

Authorities have discussed limiting travel permits for Russian citizens, with some member states calling for an outright ban on Russian tourist visas, but there is no majority in favor of this.

As a first step, the foreign ministers plan to give political support to suspending the EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement at a meeting in Prague on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the FT report, which cites officials involved in the negotiations.

Such a suspension would remove preferential treatment for Russians when applying for all EU visas and as a result require more documentation and waiting times while making them more expensive.

Regarding an outright ban on visas for Russian tourists, Cyprus and Greece have joined German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s position in opposing such a block, while other countries led by the Baltics, Finland and the Czech Republic have been calling for a full travel ban, echoing pleas from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday played down the prospects for a proposal to implement a complete ban on Russian travelers into the EU. Forbidding all Russians from entering the EU “is not a good idea,” Borrell said. “We have to be more selective.”

EU member states neighboring Russia such as Estonia and Finland have already prepared national measures to limit visas for Russian tourists.

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