Finnish Foreign Minister: EU may completely ban visas to Russians If the EU decides to completely ban tourist visas, then European countries, including Finland, should have another type of visa in reserve, for example, for journalists and civil activists, the country's Foreign Ministry noted
The European Union may completely ban the issuance of tourist visas to Russians. This was stated by Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in an interview with Helsingin sanomat.
“If the EU decides to completely ban tourist visas— which I think is quite possible in the EU,— then the EU countries, including Finland, must have a different type of visa— for example, for critical journalists, civil society activists or opposition representatives, — he said.
A ban on issuing visas to Russians would require a common EU position, Haavisto said, noting that Helsinki would be fine if the EU enforced the restrictions everywhere, which in turn would have a legal basis.
“Now we are waiting for EU policy. We are ready to tighten the measures, — assured the head of the Finnish Foreign Ministry.
Poland and the Baltic states consider every Russian as a security threat, for Finland it would be “a very dramatic interpretation,” he said. However, if the Finnish security authorities— Armed forces, police or border guards— saw a threat in the citizens of Russia, then Helsinki would have taken a similar decision.
“We in the Foreign Office cannot come to such an interpretation if the security agencies do not have such a point of view,” — emphasized Haavisto.
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On August 16, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that from the beginning of September, Helsinki would reduce the number of applications for tourist visas from Russians by ten times. The total number of visa applications registered by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be halved— instead of 1 thousand applications, the agency will accept 500, of which 400 will be given to those who apply for a visa due to family ties, study or work.
The Finnish government has instructed to prepare proposals for a national humanitarian visa for journalists or civilians. activists.
Haavisto assured that Finland does not intend to cancel the Schengen tourist visas already issued to Russians.
The head of the consular service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jussi Tanner, in turn, 12 September announced that the country does not intend to completely refuse entry for Russian citizens. “There will be no total ban in Finland, as in the Baltics and Poland. There will also be no quick changes in visa practice,»— he said.
In the Kremlin, commenting on the discussion of a possible ban on issuing visas to Russians, they expressed the hope that “opponents will retain at least a small amount of sober thinking.” If the measures are nevertheless introduced, Russia will respond to them, they added there.
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