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European Council suspends visa facilitation deal with Russia

Author Annie Tsoneva
European Council suspends visa facilitation deal with Russia License: Creative Commons 1.0 Universal

ZAGREB (Croatia), September 9 (SeeNews) - The European Council said it adopted on Friday a decision that fully suspends the visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Russia, and that therefore the general rules of the visa code will apply to Russian citizens.

“Today’s decision is a direct consequence of Russia’s actions and further proof of our unwavering commitment to Ukraine and its people,” Czech interior minister Vit Rakusan said, as quoted in a press release by the Council.

This will result in an increase in the visa application fee from 35 euro ($35.2) to 80 euro, the need to present additional documentary evidence, increased visa processing times and more restrictive rules for the issuance of multiple-entry visas, it added.

The EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement entered into force on June 1, 2007, in order to facilitate the issuance of short-stay visas, for no more than 90 days per 180 days, on the basis of reciprocity.

In February, the European Council condemned Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and expressed full solidarity with Ukraine and its people and adopted further restrictive measures against Russia, as well as the partial suspension of the visa facilitation agreement for diplomats, other Russian officials and business people.

The full suspension affects all categories of travellers coming to the EU for a short stay. The Commission is expected to present additional guidelines to ensure this suspension does not negatively impact certain people travelling to the EU for essential purposes, such as journalists, dissidents and civil society representatives.

($ = 0.994 euro)