Danish ambassador to Russia: EU can make concessions in visa regime for Kaliningrad

The European Union can make some concessions in introducing a visa regime between the Kaliningrad region (a Russian enclave on the Baltic sea) and mainland Russia, Danish ambassador to Russia Lars Vissing said in a RIA Novosti interview on the occasion of Denmark's launching its presidency of the European Union.

According to the diplomat, the introduction of a visa regime for Russian citizens travelling via Latvia and Poland in connection with these countries' accession to the European Union "is a purely administrative and technical issue, not that of sovereignty or human rights." The ambassador explained the EU's demand to issue visas for the passage of Russian citizens via the EU territory by the fact that "Russia is considered a country which illegal migrants from Europe penetrate," with a majority of them being natives of other countries than Russia.

In its turn, the European Commission sticks to such an approach, which stipulates that Kaliningrad region residents be given multi visas that must be cheaper than Schengen ones. In addition, the European Union will assist to Russia and new members of the European Union-Lithuania and Poland in re-equipping border facilities to simplify and speed up border passage.

As for the visa validity period, the ambassador said "prospects for issuing visas for a few years or, possibly, for the whole period of the validity of foreign passports are likely to come true." "We promise not to impose any difficulties in coping with technical issues," he said.

According to the ambassador, since many Russians have no foreign passports, the Russian side could also consent to applying visas on vacant pages of the ordinary passport every Russian citizen should have. "I think the European Union could also make such a decision as a temporary measure," Lars Vissing added.

Lars Vissing has warned against reducing all relations between Russia and the European Union to the problem of the Kaliningrad region. "I hope the agenda of Russia-EU relations in the course of our being the EU chair-country will not be restricted to Kaliningrad issues only," he said.

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