Posted on 15.07.2011 in Featured, News, Russia

12.07.2011 Russia and EU closer to visa abolition

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will soon ratify a document preparing Common Steps towards the abolition of visa regime with the EU, says Russian representative in Brussels.

Photo by The Council of the European Union
Photo by The Council of the European Union

Negotiations on facilitating or abolishing visa regime between Russia and the EU have been continuing for years. The final round of Senior Officials’ negotiations to elaborate a list of Common Steps towards visa free short-term travel for Russian and EU citizens was held on July 12 and on that occasion Russian representative in Brussels and Director of the MFA’s Department for European Cooperation Vladimir Voronko has announced that an initial document outlining Common Steps is almost ready.

The EU and Russia will have to reach a compromise in four areas described in respective chapters: biometric passports, dealing with illegal immigration, security (coordinating the fight against organised crime and terrorism), and the abolition of registration for EU citizens visiting Russia.

Mr Voronko claims that Russian Foreign Ministry will soon ratify the document and with the approval by the 27 EU countries and Russia, it is highly possible that it will be ratified during the EU-Russia summit in Brussels at the end of the year.

The agreement would include only those EU Member States which belong to the Schengen Area, and separate agreements would have to be signed with Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus as well as Switzerland, Iceland and Norway.

Under a simplified system, Russians will be able to obtain a five-year visa and further facilitations are being suggested, such as automatically issuing second visas after the previous one has expired, or entirely waiving all visa fees.

Vladimir Voronko predicts that the visa system is likely too be abolished very soon, „we hope it won’t take 20 or even 10 years,” he added. 

Source: Euronews, Russian Mission to the EU