This picture taken Jan 1, 2022 shows the European Union flag under the Arc de Triomphe, on the Place de l'Etoile in Paris.(ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)
PRAGUE – The Council of the European Union on Friday adopted a decision on the full suspension of a visa facilitation agreement with Russia.
The decision "will result in an increase in the visa application fee from 35 euros to 80 euros, the need to present additional documentary evidence, increased visa processing time, and more restrictive rules for the issuance of multiple-entry visas," the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU said.
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The decision entered into force on Friday and will apply as of Sept 12, the statement said.
Russia said earlier it would take serious retaliatory measures if the EU formally introduces visa restrictions on Russian citizens
The 2007 EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement aimed to facilitate the issuance of short-stay visas on the basis of reciprocity. Following the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Feb 24 this year, the EU partially suspended the visa facilitation agreement for Russian officials and business people.
At their informal meeting last month in Prague, the foreign ministers of the EU member states reached a political agreement to move forward with the full suspension of the agreement.
The full suspension "affects all categories of travelers coming to the EU for a short stay," the statement said, adding that the European Commission will present additional guidelines to ensure that the suspension "does not negatively impact certain people traveling to the EU for essential purposes."
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Russia said on Sunday that it would take serious retaliatory measures if the EU formally introduces visa restrictions on Russian citizens.
The Czech Republic is currently holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second half of this year.