EU Toughens Travel Rules for Russians

Photo: BBC

The Facts

  • European foreign ministers agreed on Wed. to suspend a 2007 agreement that makes it easier for Russian citizens to obtain tourist visas for the EU, though they stopped short of implementing the EU-wide visa ban that Ukraine and several EU member states had called for.

  • There was insufficient support for a blanket ban, and it's still unclear how effective unilateral measures already taken by Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Finland will be at restricting access to Russian visitors. Finland has already cut Russian visas by 90%, as of Thursday.

The Spin

Narrative A

This is good, but not enough. The EU must immediately ramp up the socio-political cost of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. A total visa ban would send a clear signal to Moscow that it is not okay for Russians to travel for leisure and shopping as if no war were raging in Ukraine.

Narrative B

Brussels has once again shot itself in the foot. Restricting the movement of all Russian citizens in Europe is unfair and is a move that will not stand without far-reaching consequences. The EU can expect Russian countermeasures.

Nerd narrative

There is a 95% chance Russia will be the world's most sanctioned country by February 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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