The Czech Republic proposed a compromise on EU visas for Russians

After the EU refused to completely restrict the issuance of visas to Russians, the Czech Republic proposed another option: to suspend the simplified visa regime. In this case, obtaining a visa for Russians will become more expensive, longer and more difficult

The Czech government proposed to completely suspend the action simplified visa regime between EU countries and Russia, as well as Belarus, said Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, Bloomberg reports.

If the measure is adopted, Russians and Belarusians will still be able to apply for visas, but for this they will need more documents, the processing time will increase, and the visa fee will increase from €35 to €80.

The Czech Republic, which currently holds the EU presidency, will submit a proposal for discussion at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers to be held in Prague next week.

The Czech initiative should be a softer alternative to the complete ban on the issuance of European visas to Russians, which the Baltic countries proposed earlier. Then it was not supported by a number of countries, including those whose economy depends to varying degrees on tourism.

In addition, Brussels pointed out the impossibility of making such decisions at the union level. They noted that the EU visa code does not provide for the possibility of stopping the issuance of short-stay visas. “There are always categories of citizens for whom visas must be issued, for example in humanitarian cases, for family members, journalists or dissidents,” — explained European Commission spokeswoman Anita Hipper.

According to Bloomberg, officials expect a fierce debate in Prague next week, as they believe that Germany, Austria and some southern European countries will oppose the suspension of visa facilitation. However, no official conclusions will be made at the meeting, the agency clarifies, as it will take weeks for any action to be taken.

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The fact that the participants of the meeting in Prague will discuss visa issues and possible restrictions for the Russians was known earlier. A TASS diplomatic source in Brussels reported that one of the topics could be a potential ban on issuing visas to certain categories of citizens, but there is no talk of a complete ban yet.

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