Posted on 29.07.2011 in Featured, News, Russia

19.07.2011 German business supports visa liberalisation

German business community called for liberalization of visa regime, which according to the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations impedes business activity in both EU and Russia, while Angela Merkel has announced what might become a shift in Germany’s position on visa liberalisation between the EU and Russia.

13th German-Russian Government Consultations in Hannover, REGIERUNGonline/Denzel
13th German-Russian Government Consultations in Hannover, REGIERUNGonline/Denzel

The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations has been monitoring the influence of visa-related issues on German business for quite some time. Their activities in this area include consultations with government officials ,including Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. Meeting held in May with members of the parliament led to the creation of discussion group on Visa-Liberalisation between Germany and Russia and the subject will be continued further during a Bundestag-Discussion in September.

In July 2011 the Committee published a report “Roads to Visa-free Travel”, which was presented during a press conference in Berlin. The Chairman of the Committee, Eckhard Cordes, told the press that Germany interprets rules of the Schengen Area more rigidly than other EU countries and German visa requirements “are still based on the idea of keeping illegal migrants and criminals out”. He stated, that visa requirement should have been lifted by the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia at the latest and he mentioned 2012 European Football Championship organised by Poland and Ukraine as a good occasion to “test” visa liberalisation with eastern neighbours of the EU.

The subject of visa liberalisation and regulations was touched upon during a meeting of the German and Russian government representatives in Hannover on July 19. Russia has long demanded from Germany a relaxation of the visa requirements claiming that they impede business activity, a position corresponding to data presented by Mr. Cordes.

Chancellor Merkel admitted, that so far it was the German government, not the EU as a whole, that hindered visa-liberalisation with Russia, but by the next year she expects significant progress in this area. “We agreed that we must develop a step-by-step plan,” Merkel said.

 

Source: PAP, The Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, Stimme Russlands