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We believe in people-to-people contacts – Cyprus authorities stand up for Russian communities

Cyprus opposed the ban on the issuance of tourist visas to citizens of the Russian Federation

The ban on issuing visas to Russians is contrary to the principles of free movement within the EU, said the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus, Cornelios Corneliou. According to him, Germany and Greece adhere to a similar position. He also confirmed reports of the increased interest of Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian entrepreneurs in moving their business to Cyprus. Read more in the article “Gazety-Ru”.

Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus Cornelios Corneliou said that the ban on the issuance of tourist visas to Russians could harm the Russian communities living in the EU. About this on Saturday, August 20, writes the newspaper Cyprus Mail.

“There are Russian communities in Cyprus and other EU countries, and by such a measure we would prevent the contact of these Russians with their families and friends,” the official said.

It is expected that the corresponding proposal will be put forward by the Baltic States at an informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the EU member states in Prague, which will be held on August 30-31.

“We do not believe that such a decision will have any benefit. We issue visas even to Turkish citizens because we believe in people-to-people contacts,” Corneliu stressed, adding that a large Russian-speaking community lives on the island.

According to him, Germany and Greece adhere to a similar position. “But we will have to wait for the discussion and we will see what the balance will be,” he said.

“In fact, both Greece and Cyprus share the point of view of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said that sanctions should be imposed on the ruling elites of Russia, and not the Russian people, therefore, depriving Russians of the opportunity to travel would be an excessive measure,” TourDom-ru reports.

Contradicts the principles of free movement within the EU

The publication emphasizes that additional measures against the Russian Federation may be the subject of discussion in Prague, since “as long as the war in Ukraine continues, there will be reactions and proposals to strengthen the measures taken against Russia.” “In this context, the possibility of a ban on issuing visas to citizens of the Russian Federation is being discussed by some of our partners,” Corneliu stated, adding that this is contrary to the principles of free movement within the EU.

Cyprus is facing an “exaggerated” reaction to its stance on Russia due to its historical relationship with Russia, he said.

“Nevertheless, our partners recognize that Cyprus, despite the financial costs incurred by it, supported all EU decisions regarding sanctions against Russia,” said the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic.

Sanctions and Russian business in Cyprus

Corneliu confirmed reports of increased interest from Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian entrepreneurs, mainly from the IT sector, to move their business to Cyprus, but noted that this interest also applies to American and other enterprises based in Russia or Belarus.

“We are open to any companies that would like to operate in Cyprus, within the framework of EU decisions. Since there is no decision prohibiting the movement of companies, we would be very happy if these companies operated in Cyprus,” he explained, pointing to the “very strict” framework for the activities of these enterprises.

According to him, the Foreign Ministry monitors the implementation of EU decisions on sanctions adopted against Russia, and if there are relevant questions from various departments of the republic, it conducts the necessary checks.

“The main goal is the Russian military machine”

In turn, the Portuguese authorities also have a negative attitude towards the idea of ​​a ban on issuing visas to Russians to visit the EU, a spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry said in an interview with Eco.

“The main goal of the sanctions regime should be the “Russian military machine”, but not the Russian people,” he said.

Recall that the initiative to ban Russians from entering the EU was made by officials of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Earlier it was reported that on August 31, EU Foreign Ministers will consider the possibility of reducing the issuance of visas to Russians. It is expected that we will talk about both the change in the Schengen Code and the possible concerted actions of the EU countries. According to a TASS source, the first stage involves the creation of a voluntary system to reduce the number of tourist visas issued to Russians.

At the same time, since August 18, Estonia has already introduced restrictions on the entry of citizens of the Russian Federation.

The fact that the issuance of tourist visas to Russians should be “interrupted at the level of Europe,” said Latvian President Egil Levits. According to him, such a measure would be an additional sanction against Russia. He added that the Baltic republic will review the residence permits already issued by Riga. Residence permits will also cease to be issued to those permanent residents of Latvia who will take Russian citizenship in the future.

In particular, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis agreed with Riga’s position. He believes that visas already issued to Russians should be made invalid. “The best option would be a pan-European decision to declare these visas invalid. Then everyone would just stop issuing them,” Landsbergis concluded.

Against this background, Finland plans to significantly reduce the number of visas issued to Russians. Helsinki intends to accept no more than 100-200 applications a day from September instead of the current 1,000. Foreign Minister of the Republic Pekka Haavisto said that the department has prepared a special model, priority which will be given to applicants who apply for a visa for family reasons, work, or study.

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