Eager to gain easier access into the European Union, Russia has come up with a new idea to convince Europe to drop its visa regime.
A bill introduced into the EU parliament today permits Russians to fly into the Schengen zone – that is, enter the Schengen zone onboard a passenger plane with an international passport and a two-way ticket.
The authors of the bill argue this will be more than enough to ensure that the individual will not relocate to Europe or carry arms or drugs.
“Europeans have seen for themselves how strict the [security] check is in Russian airports,” said Pavel Tarakanov, a Liberal Democrat parliamentarian and the author of the draft. “It is way stricter than in any European airport. As for the issue of illegal immigration, everyone who wanted to leave the country did that back in the 1990s.”
The authors sent a resolution to Brussels, and the European deputies promised to consider the idea. Some of the EU countries, however, insist that a visa-free regime between Europe and Russia can be established only after such countries as Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine (the members of the Eastern Partnership) are also allowed on the EU territory without visas.
Russia and the EU have long been negotiating the mutual abolition of visas for travelers. While the issue of full abolition has not been solved, several European countries, including France and Italy, have agreed to ease the visa regime for Russian citizens.
According to preliminary agreements, the visa-free regime will concern only short-term trips totaling no more than 180 days annually. It will be in force only in those EU countries which are part of the Schengen agreement.
This past July, Russia and the EU finalized a roadmap for the abolition of visas. Under the plan, Russia needs to step up its fight against illegal immigration and crime. Russians will also have to be issued biometric passports.
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