By early 2003 the staff of the Lithuanian consulate in the Kaliningrad region, the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea, will have been enlarged twofold, Consul General in Kaliningrad Vitautas Zalis told journalists on Friday.
According to the diplomat, the enlargement of the consulate's staff is prompted by the introduction of a visa regime in the Kaliningrad region on January 1st, 2003. This procedure, he added, was being introduced in connection with arrangements for Lithuania's accession to the European Union. After Lithuania enters the EU the Kaliningrad region will border on a EU country.
Zalis added that additional windows and new equipment to speed up the processing of documents would be installed into the consulate to increase six-fold the number of visas issued.
The diplomat said that these would be cheap multi visas issued for a long period. At the same time he acknowledged that the consulate's capacity would still be limited.
At the present time some 4 million people cross the Russo-Lithuanian border in the Kaliningrad region every year.