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News > Estonia

Member of the EP Call Halt on Russian Visas "Absurd"

  • Estonian representative to the European Parliament said that the halting of Schengen visas for Russians is absurd. Aug. 12, 2022.

    Estonian representative to the European Parliament said that the halting of Schengen visas for Russians is absurd. Aug. 12, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@AzSenzor

Published 12 August 2022

A member of the European Parliament described as absurd the proposal of banning Schengen visas for the Russian Federation.

On Thursday, Yana Toom, a member of the European Parliament from the Estonian Center Party said that the proposal issued by the Estonian government on halting Schengen visas for the Russian Federation, makes Tallinn look “a little weak-minded.”

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In light of the Russian special operation in Ukrainian territory, as part of sanctions against Moscow Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas invite the European Union to ban the Schengen visas for Russians, saying that visiting the bloc is “a privilege, not a human right.”

Estonian government announced Thursday, that it would halt the entry to the country of Russian nationals with Schengen visas issued by the Baltic nation, to be effective next week.

During an interview with Russian-language TV Channel ETV+, a member of the European Parliament described the such move as “absurd.” She explained that Tallinn “cannot make decisions for the entire Schengen area,” adding that the country has not the right to forbid Russians the use of visas issued by other Schengen states, suggesting that the only thing to do by Tallinn, is to effectively invalidate its own visas.

“I think we look a little weak-minded in this, but nevertheless this is the idea,” the MEP said. according to Toom, Estonian is seeking “to push through the European Council” the proposal of a total halt of Schengen visas for Russia. Otherwise, she considers that such an idea will not proceed.

“Because there is a legislative definition of the sanctions regime, it has goals, stated goals, such as to maintain or restore peace, maintain democracy, and so on, I just can’t figure out in my small head how a ban on entry for Russians will restore peace in Ukraine. It just doesn’t fit in my head,” said the Estonian official.

She continued to say that there is no logic in her government's intentions to “kick out” some groups of Russians living in Estonia, by invalidating the issuance of residence permits.

“A lot of people came to us. We say that we condemn Putin’s regime, that you should not live there with this, and when people leave, we throw them back. There is absolutely no logic here,” said Toom.

“It all has another side, there will be reciprocity, we will not get to Russia. And one thing that we are missing is St Petersburg and the Hermitage, but we also have Pechory [an area in Russia’s Pskov Region] where many people own property, homes… we can now say goodbye to it,” she added.

On the other hand, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday, that as “countries have a right to implement their own visa policies,” the UN is against discrimination, referring to Estonia's initiative.


Yana Toom
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