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Visa-free regime is only up to a political decision of the EU

08:07, 21 января 2013

The European Union commits to the establishment of visa-free regime with Russia, confirmed the President of the European Commission (EC) Jose Manuel Barroso last Friday. «We commit to this goal, but we haven’t reached it yet», - he said at the press-conference dedicated to the results of the 30th Russia-EU Summit in Brussels. Mr. Barroso did not mention any possible deadlines for the visa waiver, but noted the progress in the visa regime facilitation. “We talked about the fact that we are moving closer to simplifying, and finally to waiving the visas. We think, as a result we must work for the benefit of the European and Russian citizens. The strategic goal is visa-free regime between Russia and the EU», - said Mr. Barroso.

 

Having noted that in 2011 the EU issued over five million Schengen visas for the Russians, Mr. Barroso said that the number of Russian visas issued for the EU citizens has increased by 62% within the last two years. Upon that he stated that an updated agreement on visa regime facilitation between the Russian Federation and the EU must be signed. “This will become an important step in positive dynamics of setting a visa free regime”, - said the head of the European Commission. He noted progress in implementation of joint steps to short-trips visa-free regime between Russia and EU.

 

The agreement between the Russian Federation and the EU on visa facilitation was signed in 2006, recalls RIA Novosti.

 

In his turn, the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin noted that during the negotiations in Brussels, visa-free regime for short-term trips between Russia and the EU was discussed. “I believe almost all technical issues for visa-free regime introduction are solved – now; it’s only a political decision of the European colleagues left", - he said.

 

The President called the absence of a visa-free regime harmful for trade-economic relations’ development. «I’m convinced the ball is on the side of our European partners, and I believe they don't doubt it as well. It’s been four years we have the readmission agreement. The decisions on the external borders protection are made and implemented”, - said Mr. Putin.

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