The European Commission (EC) responded to a request from the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat about whether it is possible to ban the issuance of tourist visas to all Russians. The answer is published on the website of the publication.
The EC stressed that the visa rules of the European Union do not allow completely stopping the issuance of visas, it should always be possible to provide them to certain groups.
“The EU sanctions against Russia are aimed primarily and specifically at the Russian government and the Russian economic elite, as the goal is to prevent the Kremlin from financing an aggressive war in Ukraine.”
The Commission declined to say whether such a possibility was discussed in the EU, citing the confidentiality of the discussions. The EC also notes that decisions on applications for short-stay Schengen visas are made “on a case-by-case basis”. The screening determines whether the applicant is likely to jeopardize “public order, national security, or the international relations of a Member State.”
“There are always groups of people who need to issue visas. These are humanitarian cases, family members of EU citizens, journalists and dissidents.”
The EC specifies that the EU has already taken steps to make it difficult for persons employed in the Russian civil service to enter the EU.
On July 28, Estonia stopped issuing a temporary residence permit (permit) and visas for studying to Russian citizens. The government has also amended the already imposed sanctions: now citizens of Russia and Belarus will be able to register short-term work in Estonia only if they have an Estonian visa.
In July, Finland 's leading parliamentary parties called for stopping the issuance of tourist visas to Russians because of the war in Ukraine. It was assumed that the ban "will not apply to medical treatment, to persons owning real estate in Finland, as well as to visiting close relatives." Shortly after the proposal, Deputy Prime Minister Tytti Tuppurainen stated that the country did not intend to stop issuing Schengen tourist visas to Russian citizens at the moment. Such a decision can only be made at the level of the European Union and the Schengen countries.
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the EU Alexei Makeev proposed introducing a mandatory form in the visa application form for Russians, which would ask about their attitude to the war in Ukraine. According to him, Russians who support the war should not have access to the free world.