Thursday

6th Oct 2022

Opinion

Stop the visas — EU is not a Russia holiday destination

  • A travel agency in Simferopol in Russian-occupied Crimea in 2017. (Photo: Loreline Merelle)
Listen to article

So-called Russian tourists should not be able to travel to the EU and Schengen countries. The Council of the EU must decide to suspend the tourist visas already issued to the Russian citizens and to stop issuing new ones.

The Russian regime waging a war against its neighbour can only exist with the support of its own people. Maintaining a criminal regime comes at a price.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Furthermore, this is not anymore only Vladimir Putin's regime war against Ukraine — but instead a crucial part of Russian society backs this war.

It is about time that even the wealthiest part of the Russian society, ie mainly the residents of Moscow, St Petersburg and other big cities, become aware that aggression against another country has its price.

Until now, the inhabitants of Russia's bigger cities have largely been shielded from the war, because Russia recruits its soldiers mainly from poor provincial regions.

Several months ago, Europe closed its skies for Russian flights with the idea of preventing the citizens of warring Russia from traveling to Europe.

It should also be understood that traveling to Europe for a vacation or shopping is not some kind of a common right.

Citizens of most countries in the world will never get a tourist visa from the EU, even though their country has never attacked any European country.

Together with my European Parliament colleagues, we recently sent a letter to the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, Council president Charles Michel and to the Czech prime minister Petr Fiala, calling to suspend the issuance of tourist visas to Russian citizens.

We emphasised that as long as Ukrainian citizens are suffering the atrocities of Russia's war of aggression, Russian citizens should not be welcome in the EU.

The ban on tourist visas does not affect Russian citizens who are entitled to humanitarian visas. There are other options for them.

At the same time, it is necessary to expand sanctions on Russian citizens who are responsible for the war in Ukraine and who support Kremlin's aggressive policies.

While the EU has already taken restrictive measures against a number of Russians citizens, the list needs to be expanded to cover the more than 6,000 Russian nationals indicated by the Navalny Foundation against corruption.

Those 6,000 Russian nationals must be banned from entering the EU and their assets here must be frozen.

Russian citizens will still be able to travel though. Kyrgyzstan and Uganda have just confirmed their great friendship with Russia. Nice destinations for a beach and shopping holiday.

However, the EU and Schengen should not be a shopping and holiday destination to the citizens of the aggressor state Russia.

Author bio

Urmas Paet, Estonian MEP with Renew Europe, is vice-chair of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Column

Give Russians more visas — not fewer

It would be unwise to stop letting Russians in. Europe's aim is to stop the war in Ukraine and for Russia to withdraw completely from Ukraine. And that can only happen if Russian citizens start resisting the war.

Germany rejects visa ban for Russian tourists

German chancellor Olaf Scholz said a total ban on tourist visas will not be supported by Berlin — adding that many refugees do not agree with the Russian regime.

The fossil-fuel agenda behind EU's carbon-capture plans

The fossil-fuel industry is using the carbon removal agenda to get yet more support for failed carbon capture, which is a key component of the pie-in-the-sky carbon removal technologies being promoted by the EU Commission.

Column

The Iranian regime's expiration date

This 'headscarf revolution' is about women's rights and human rights in general, plus police brutality. Moreover, it is a leaderless revolution that is not driven by a leader or a group, but erupted spontaneously.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden: Nord Stream probe points to 'gross sabotage'
  2. Orbán rails against Russia sanctions at Prague summit
  3. MEPs urge inquiry into Mahsa Amini killing and Iran sanctions
  4. Thousands of Hungarian students and teachers protest
  5. Swedish MEP cuts hair mid-speech to support Iran women
  6. Danish general election called for 1 November
  7. Slovenia legalises gay marriage, adoption
  8. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  2. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  4. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  5. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”

Latest News

  1. What actually happened at the 'most complicated election in the world'?
  2. Europe lays aside quarrels to isolate Putin
  3. Spyware-hacked MEPs still seeking answers
  4. EU leaders discuss gas price cap — amid rationing fear
  5. Germany braces for criticism of national €200bn energy fund
  6. The fossil-fuel agenda behind EU's carbon-capture plans
  7. Four weeks to COP27 — key issues and challenges
  8. EU wants to see US list on Russia financing of politicians

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us