EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday threw cold water on a proposal to implement a comprehensive ban on Russian travelers in the EU.
Banning all Russians from entering the EU “is not a good idea”, Borrell said. “We have to be more selective.”
Speaking during a university conference in SpainBorrell said the idea put forward by senior politicians in Kyiv and various EU countries was “quite controversial”, adding that it would create a divide between capitals as some have introduced travel bans without the tackle at EU level.
Borrell added that Russian oligarchs were already banned from entering EU territory under various sets of sanctions, but cautioned against extending the proposal to all Russians because “many Russians want to flee their country because they don’t want to live in this country”. situation.”
“More than 300,000 Russians have [fled] their country because they do not want to live under the rule of [Russian President Vladimir] Cheese fries. Are we going to close the door to these Russians? I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he said.
Borrell’s remarks come as EU foreign ministers are set to discuss a travel visa ban in Prague next week, with the issue causing friction between EU countries.
Cyprus and Greece have joined German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s stance in opposing the blocking of visas for Russian tourists, while other countries led by the Baltics, Finland and the Czech Republic have called for a total ban to travel, echoing calls from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In an interview with POLITICO, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu renewed calls to cut Schengen visas for Russians as the Kremlin commits “genocide” in Ukraine.
On Monday, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky reiterated calls for the suspension of EU visa facilitation agreements with Russia and Belarus, which have simplified the procedure for issuing visas.