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Finland calls on EU Commission to introduce common policy on Russian visas

The Finnish proposal that sanctions be placed on tourist visas for Russian citizens was submitted to a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

File photo taken at the Vaalimaa border crossing point in eastern Finland. Image: Pyry Sarkiola / Yle
Yle News

Finland has appealed to the European Commission to issue an EU-wide recommendation that would restrict the entry of Russian citizens into EU countries under tourism visas.

In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Finland has requested the commission recommend that all EU and Schengen countries annul or revoke tourist visas previously issued to Russian citizens, as well as a suspension of future tourist applications.

Jussi Tanner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Finland believes it would be easier for EU countries to operate under a common policy. He added that under the current arrangements, there is a serious risk that the Schengen system could fall apart.

The ban, if introduced under Finland's proposed terms, would also prevent other countries from admitting people whose visas have been annulled.

Finland has also called on the commission to recommend that a common practice on visas for Russian citizens be introduced at the borders of Schengen area countries.

Tanner emphasised that Finland is not suggesting that all visas held by Russian citizens be annulled. He also added that one of Finland's main aims is to prevent Russian tourists using Finland as a transit hub to gain access to the rest of Europe.

Finland asked for sanctions to be placed on tourist visas for Russians at Monday's meeting of EU foreign ministers.

The Baltic nations and Poland has prevented Russian tourists from crossing their borders since Monday, but Finland has not introduced a similar ban because — according to the Foreign Ministry's interpretation of the law — Schengen rules prevent such a move.

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