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Joint statement of the Prime Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland on EU visas for Russian citizens: travel to the EU is a privilege, not a human right

Date

2022 09 08

Rating
1
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Responding to the substantial and growing movement of citizens of the Russian Federation to the European Union and the Schengen area and considering this as a threat to the security of societies and the shared Schengen area, the Prime Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland note in the Joint statement that traveling in the European Union is a privilege, not a human right.

Countries making the Statement agree on a common regional approach and express their political will and firm intention to introduce national temporary measures for Russian citizens holding EU visas in order to address public policy and security threats and restrict the entry into the Schengen area for the Russian citizens travelling for tourism, culture, sport and business purposes.

‘Among the Russian citizens entering the EU/Schengen area, there are persons coming with the aim of undermining the security of our countries, insofar as three fourths of Russian citizens support Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. It takes tremendous resources for our border guard services to keep Europe safe and ensure the Russian citizens entering the Schengen area do not pose a threat to our common security and stability of our societies. It is also unacceptable that citizens of the aggressor-state are able to freely travel in the EU, whilst at the same time people in Ukraine are being tortured and murdered. The majority of visas have been issued to Russian citizens before Russia’s full-scale aggression in Ukraine, under different geopolitical conditions and considerations’, reads the Joint statement of the Prime Ministers of four countries.

Countries welcome the decision to suspend the EU visa facilitation agreement with Russia as a necessary first step, however, note that further stricter measures are needed to drastically limit the number of visas issued (primarily tourist visas), and to decrease the flow of Russian citizens into the European Union and the Schengen area.

‘We emphasise that this is not an outright entry ban and commonly agreed legitimate exceptions will remain in force for dissidents, humanitarian cases, family members, holders of residence permits, for the facilitation of freight and transportation services, diplomatic missions, Kaliningrad facilitated transit of persons, etc. We fully uphold the need to continue to support opponents of the Putin regime and provide them with opportunities to leave Russia’, reads the Statement.

National temporary measures based on common approach should enter into force in each of the four countries that issued the Statement separately following the adoption of relevant legal acts. On Wednesday, the Government of Lithuania approved the draft resolution on the introduction of the state of emergency, which it submits to the Seimas.

Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia have agreed that measures are adopted on the common grounds of protecting the public policy and internal security, as well as ensuring the overall safety of our shared Schengen area. The Statement emphasizes that countries continue to seek a common approach on the EU level and asked the European Commission to propose respective measures on visas and entry restrictions that could be implemented in a unified manner by all Member States of the European Union and Schengen Associated Countries.

Full text of the Statement in Lithuanian and English.