If implemented by member countries, the European Union’s decision to limit travel visas to Russia due to Moscow’s conflict in Ukraine is a step in the right direction, said Pekka Haavisto, Finnish Foreign Minister.
Josep Borell, EU’s chief of foreign policy, stated that the EU’s foreign ministers had agreed to suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia. This will make it more difficult and more expensive for Russian citizens to travel to the EU.
“This is a positive step in the right direction, but once again we found that there has been very little action and a lot of talk,” Haavisto said to reporters. He added that the situation needs to be reviewed within the next few months.
Finland and the other EU member countries that have a land border to Russia, such as Poland and the Baltic states, are calling for an EU-wide ban on Russian tourists visas.
Haavisto stated that Russia invades Ukraine, and they receive refugees from Ukraine. This is not the time to indulge in luxury tourism and holidaymaking (for Russians).
Last week, Finland’s largest daily, Helsingin Sanomat recorded 1,400 Russian-licensed cars parked at Helsinki’s main airport. Many of these luxury brands prompted sharp public criticism.
The Finnish government decided to drastically reduce the number of tourist visas Finland issues to Russians due to the increasing number of Russian tourists visiting Europe via Finland.
Russian tourists with tourist visas from other EU member states will still be allowed to travel through Finland.
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