Warsaw: Prime Ministers of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have issued a joint statement, agreeing to temporarily restrict Russian visa-holders’ entry into the European Union (EU) and the Schengen area for tourism, culture, sport and business purposes, according to a release from the Polish Prime Minister’s Office.
The majority of visas had been issued to Russian citizens before the Russia-Ukraine conflict and “under different geopolitical conditions and considerations,” said the release, adding that the influx of Russian citizens to the EU and the Schengen area through their countries’ borders, however, poses “a serious threat” to their “public security and to the overall shared Schengen area”, Xinhua news agency reported.
The agreed “national temporary measures” are not “an outright entry ban” to Russian nationals, the statement said, adding that the restrictions should enter into force in each country by September 19.
The four prime ministers said that they welcome the suspension of the EU visa facilitation agreement with Russia, and called for further measures to “drastically limit the number of visas issued (primarily tourist visas)” and to decrease the flow of Russian citizens into the EU and the Schengen area.
During their informal meeting in Prague on August 30-31, EU foreign ministers agreed to suspend the visa facilitation agreement that allows simplified procedures for the issuance of visas to Russian citizens. The decision, however, has yet to be legalised.
Russia responded on Sunday that it will take serious retaliatory measures if the EU formally introduces visa restrictions on Russian citizens.