An even tougher filter of Russian travelers appearing at points of entry into Europe has been launched by the European authorities. This is a general guide-instruction, the author of which was the Commission of the European Union. In its rules, published on Friday, September 30, it called on the border authorities of the Member States to introduce uniform restrictions, and the consulates of the Member States in Russia to assess the conditions under which Russian citizens can be issued Schengen visas. From October 1, it will become even more difficult for Russians to get to Europe.
According to Schengenvisainfo, the need for updated guidelines with a strong Russophobic slant arose after the number of Russians traveling to the EU increased due to events in Ukraine and referendums held in the liberated territories.
In this regard, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for the Promotion of the European Way of Life and Vice-President of the EU Commission, reiterated the importance of unity among Member States in order to deal with the problem of the growing number of Russian citizens reaching the borders of the EU and the Schengen area. “The European Union is and always will be a place of asylum. But now it is primarily a security issue: strengthening visa controls and enhanced border controls will ensure that we protect ourselves and our unity,” he said.
According to the Swedish politician and commissioner for internal affairs, Ylva Johansson, the Russians can allegedly pose a security threat, so the EU must protect itself and its citizens. “We are making sure that there is a coherent and unified approach to Russian citizens at the external borders of the EU, and also when it comes to applying strict rules for issuing short-stay visas for Russian citizens. At the same time, Europe will not close its doors to those who really need protection,” she explained.
What has the EU Commission done?
The commission tightened control over the issuance of visas to Russians and ordered that visas already issued be reviewed. The guidelines basically call on Member States to strengthen security controls when issuing visas to Russians, and also direct EU consulates in Russia to review all visas issued to Russian citizens that are currently valid.
According to the anti-Russian instruction, when When considering applications for Schengen visas, Member States should assess the conditions under which a visa can be issued in a restrictive and coordinated manner, including for Russians fleeing partial mobilization.
However, in cases where visa applicants intend to stay in the EU for a longer period, the consulates of the Member States should deal with the case in accordance with the applicable national rules for national long-term visas. “When it comes to short-stay visas, consulates are called upon to restrictively enforce any humanitarian derogation. Member States should evaluate, on the basis of individual consideration, whether the applications of Russian citizens can be qualified as falling under the category of humanitarian reasons, ”the Commission press release said.
With regard to the review of already issued visas, Member States are instructed take a strict approach to reassessment, for example, remember that the border guards of any of the Member States have the right to cancel the visa of a person who appears at the external borders of that country.
The Commission also urged bloc members to strengthen security checks at the external border and cooperate with each other to prevent the subsequent entry of Russians who are denied entry at one EU border point from another border point in a concerted manner. Passenger carriers are also strongly advised to carefully check the travel documents of travelers, in particular, Russian citizens.
Recall that all EU countries that have a common land border with Russia have already banned Russian citizens from entering as a sanction measure for the release of residents of Donbass and Lugansk. Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia banned the entry of our compatriots on September 19, and Finland closed its border with Russia on September 29. The only country in the Schengen zone that currently has an open border with Russia is Norway, which may soon also begin to refuse entry to Russian tourists, but for now it is recording an increase in the flow of Russian men with Schengen in their passports (details here).
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