Posted on Aug 29, 2022
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."
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Following a somewhat humiliating experience in Moscow at the hands of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in 2021, MEPs called for Borell's resignation.
We, the undersigned members of the European Parliament, are extremely concerned about the humiliating developments during the visit of VPC/HR Josep Borrell Fontelles to Moscow, which have greatly damaged the European Union’s reputation... Mr Borrell decided to go to Moscow on his own initiative. This decision indicated disregard for the crimes committed by the Putin regime against its political opponents, and was not in line with a foreign policy based on values. This was exacerbated by the fact that during his visit Mr Borrell repeatedly failed to defend the European Union’s interests... As a sign of disrespect towards the European Union, Russia decided to time the announcement of its decision to declare three EU diplomats (from Germany, Poland, and Sweden) as persona non grata during a joint press conference between Mr Borrell and Mr Lavrov. When learning about this, Mr Borrell failed to send a resolute signal by ending his visit at that point.
The letter was made public less than 24 hours before Borrell was due to appear before the European Parliament, where he was to be questioned by MEPs about his trip to Moscow and his behaviour during what Borrell himself described as an "aggressively-staged press conference" with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
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