Finland will reduce the issuance of tourist visas to Russian citizens, said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. He explained that priority will be given to Russians wishing to visit Finland for work and study, as well as for family reasons.
“We have prepared a model where fewer traditional tourist visas will be issued, and priority will be given to family circumstances or those who work or study,” Mr. Haavisto told the TV channel YLE. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should approve these measures later today, on August 16.
According to the minister, the most important thing is to achieve a unified position of the European Union (EU) on visas for Russians. According to YLE, Greece, Italy and Spain are now the largest Schengen visa issuers, and the visas they issue allow Russians to travel to other parts of Europe via Finland.
At the end of July, Acting Prime Minister of Finland Aki Linden called for tougher visa issuance to Russians. Pekka Haavisto said that it is possible to reduce the number of tourist visas issued, for example, by setting application deadlines.
In early August, a proposal was submitted to the European Union to ban the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians. Germany is opposed. Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic have already suspended the issuance of visas to Russians. Estonia also decided to close the borders for Russian citizens.
For more information about possible Schengen restrictions, see Kommersant’s article “A visit to some.”