European Union foreign ministers meeting later this week, are unlikely to unanimously back a visa ban on all Russians, as would be needed to put in place such a ban, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Austria’s ORF TV on Sunday.
“I don’t think that to cut the relationship with the Russian civilian population will help and I don’t think that this idea will have the required unanimity,” Borrell, who chairs EU foreign ministers’ meetings, told the national broadcaster.
“I think that we have to review the way that some Russians get a visa, certainly the oligarchs not. We have to be more selective. But I am not in favour of stopping delivering visas to all Russians.”
Some countries have demanded collective action to stop ordinary Russians from travelling to the EU on tourist visas, in the latest challenge for the bloc as it tries to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine while maintaining unity among its 27 members.
Countries including the Czech Republic and Poland stopped issuing visas to Russian tourists shortly after president Vladimir Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.
They have since demanded that Brussels enact a complete ban, echoing a plea from Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
But others have continued to grant the travel documents, allowing Russians with visas to travel anywhere in the the Schengen free-movement area.