27 ask Brussels to reassess whether to adapt visa restrictions after Russian reservists’ flight

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European governments on Monday called on the European Commission to “monitor, evaluate and, if necessary, update” the guidelines it established earlier this month to limit visas for Russian citizens, with the intention of uniting positions regarding the response the European Union should give to defectors fleeing Russia following the call-up of 30,000 reservists by Vladimir Putin’s regime.

The first EU-27 meeting to assess the situation took place on Monday at ambassadorial level, in the framework of the Integrated Political Crisis Response Facility (IPCR), and has served to note that “important differences” persist between the countries, European sources have indicated to Europa Press.

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Therefore, the ambassadors have asked the European Commission to collect updated information on the real impact of the flight of reservists since, according to European sources, no major movements have been recorded, and to decide whether it is necessary to review the latest Brussels guidelines on the limitation of visas to Russia published on September 9.

This revision, as the delegations have conveyed to the Community services, will have to be carried out “taking into account the security concerns” held by several Member States.

At the end of last week Brussels resisted taking sides on the reception to be given to Russians fleeing not to fight in the war against Ukraine arguing that it is up to the EU-27 to establish a “common approach” and warning that there are security issues to be assessed.

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The Member States can resort to reasons of national security or public order to prevent the passage at its border, the Community Executive pointed out then, but they must strictly comply with European and international law which obliges them to deal “case by case” with asylum requests that may arrive on their territory.

Thus, the rotating presidency of the EU now held by the Czech Republic summoned the ambassadors to start the reflection in the IPCR on how to fit the international obligations and the divergences between countries like Germany that have already said that they must be open to the reception and those more cautious, like the Baltics, for being in the front line with Russia.

In Monday’s debate, Member States had the opportunity to have a “substantial and useful” discussion with experts from the various European agencies competent in the matter, including the border and coast guard (Frontex) and the European External Action Service.

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