Finland threatens holders of Finnish visas for traveling to Europe in transit
Finnish Foreign Ministry: Watching Russians who only use the Finnish Schengen for transit The Finnish Foreign Ministry is aware that some Russians use the Finnish Schengen only for transit to other European countries. The consular department of the department warned that it plans to “intervene” in this situation< source srcset="https://s0.rbk.ru/v6_top_pics/resized/590xH/media/img/7/30/756599617237307.webp 590w" type="image/webp" >
Finland intends to limit “transit tourism” for Russians and in the future may refuse to issue new Schengen visas to those who used a previous entry permit to enter the country only to then go somewhere else, Jussi Tanner, head of the consular service of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, said in an interview with the Yle television and radio company.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country is already drawing attention to the fact that after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, many Russians use the Finnish Schengen only to use it to enter other countries of the agreement, for example, to the Mediterranean Sea through Finland.
"We will intervene if the Russians start traveling around the Finnish Schengen somewhere else,— promised the head of the consular service.
In addition, the Finnish Foreign Ministry has already reduced the number of tourist visas issued to Russians, limiting the possibility of making an appointment at the country's diplomatic missions in Russia. Embassies and consulates now accept only 1,000 applications daily. Tanner warned that this number could be further reduced in the future.
Finnish visas give the right to travel to other Schengen countries (there are 26 in total), including most EU countries. However, if the visa issued by Finland is clearly used only for transit to another country, the applicant may be denied the next visa, Yle points out.
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More than half of the inhabitants of Finland are in favor of stopping the issuance of tourist visas to Russians, follows from a Yle survey conducted by the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation earlier. When asked whether Finland should stop issuing entry permits to Russian citizens, 58% of respondents answered positively, 24% voted in favor of continuing the issuance of permits, and another 18% of citizens found it difficult to answer.
Tanner also previously said that the Finnish authorities are considering six options for restricting tourism from Russia: a complete cessation of issuing visas, limiting the number of applications accepted, allowing entry only for a good reason (funeral, medical treatment, visiting relatives, etc.), cancellation of previously issued visas and the closure of passenger traffic.
The sixth option, which is supported by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself,— is to follow the policy of the European Union. “This issue [issuance of tourist visas in Russia] should be coordinated at the level of the EU and the Schengen countries,” — stated earlier and.about. Prime Minister of Finland, Minister for EU Affairs and Public Property Tytti Tuppurainen.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, commenting on Helsinki's plans, warned that if Finland refused to issue visas to Russians, Moscow would take retaliatory measures. Agency spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that this kind of “discriminatory political measure” may lead to increased tension in Europe.
Russia and the EU signed an agreement on a simplified visa regime, which implies a simplified procedure for processing documents for officials and entrepreneurs. On February 26, Brussels partially suspended its action due to Russia's special military operation in Ukraine.
The European Commission previously ruled out a complete cessation of issuing visas to Russians, as this is contrary to EU standards. However, they recalled that the countries of the association have the right to independently decide whether to issue a visa to enter the country or not.
The issuance of short-term Schengen visas to Russians in one way or another has already been limited by the visa centers of Belgium, Malta, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Estonia.
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