Following a two-day informal meeting in Prague, the European foreign ministers have reached political consensus to fully suspend the visa facilitation agreement between the European Union and Russia.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a news conference following the meeting that this decision “will significantly reduce the number of new visas issued by the EU member states” given that the process would become more difficult and take longer.
Visas were already restricted to some categories of Russian nationals. Borrell said that this is not a legal text but only a political agreement at this point.
The agreement will have to be approved by all member states at an European Council level.
Borrell said that since mid-July, there has been a “substantial increase on border crossings from Russia in neighboring states,” which has become “a security risk for these states.”
“We have seen many Russians traveling for leisure and shopping as if no war was raging in Ukraine,” Borrell said.
“It cannot be business as usual,” he added.