The EU decided to freeze the visa facilitation agreement with Russia, Reuters reports with reference to Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
According to Borrell, since mid-July, the number of Russian travellers in Europe has increased significantly. The head of European diplomacy believes that this may threaten the security of states.
"We have seen many Russians traveling for leisure and shopping as if no war was raging in Ukraine,” Borrell said," Josep Borrell said.
New EU restrictions may significantly complicate the visa application process and make it a lot longer for Russians.
According to ATOR (Association of Tour Operators of Russia), it make take up to six (currently — three) months to issue EU visas to Russian citizens. In addition, the visa fee will increase from 35 to 80 euros.
Due to the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement, Russian citizens will have to collect more documents when applying for a visa.
"Long-term and multiple-entry Schengen visas for Russians will become either much less frequent or there will be no such visas at all. A one-time Schengen visa issued strictly for the dates of the trip — this will be the typical and most common practice," ATOR explained.
The worst did not happen, ATOR noted — the EU did not ban visas for Russian travellers.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that EU countries could not agree on the suspension of visas for Russian citizens. Many states opposed such a decision, he said.