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Lavrov Speaks Out on EU Visas

Published: October 10, 2012 (Issue # 1730)



  • Lavrov believes the delay in the introduction of visa-free travel between Russia and the EU is politically-motivated.
    Photo: FOREIGN MINISTRY

MOSCOW The European Union might be dragging out the possible cancellation of the visa regime with Russia, since the main reason this goal cant be reached could be of a political nature, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

We have a feeling that the reasons on the side of our partners from the European Union are not of a technical or administrative nature, he said at a meeting with the leaders of the Association of European Businesses. The information is coming to us that the main reason is political, he said without specifying the sources.

Lavrov suggested that delays in making the final decision on lifting visa requirements might be based on the solidarity principle in the European Union and that introducing a visa-free regime with Russia before lifting visa regulations between the European Union and the countries in the EU neighborhood, like Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia might be politically unacceptable.

If this is so, it is a purely politicized approach that does not take into account what Russia has actually done to ensure the safety of a visa-free regime and is based exclusively on political feasibility, he said.

He said that he plans to discuss the issue at a meeting with his counterparts from the EU countries that will take place in Luxembourg next week, and he hopes they will dispel any doubts about their motives.

Meanwhile, Soren Liborius, a spokesman for the EU delegation in Russia, described such assumptions as groundless, saying making travel across borders easy for both Russians and Europeans is critical for the bloc.

We are working as fast as we can to advance the preparation for launching the talks on visa-free travel, he said by telephone.

Lavrov said that upon request from Moscow, the European Union had provided a full list of problems Russia needs to resolve to facilitate the cancellation of the visa regime.

Based on that list, the sides agreed on mutual steps that should be taken to end the need for visas, including the introduction of biometric passports, combating illegal immigration and law enforcement cooperation.

After that, there is nothing preventing us from sitting down and signing a simple and understandable agreement on introducing a visa-free regime for short-term trips for the citizens of Russia and the Shengen countries, Lavrov said.

He insisted that Europe analyze the reasons why this goal cant be achieved in the fastest possible way and said he hopes that the sides would sign an agreement on easing visa rules by Nov. 1,an interim step before lifting the regulations completely.

Easing or canceling visa regulations is critical for boosting economic cooperation with the European Union, which remains the No. 1 trade partner for Russia, Lavrov said, adding that mutual trade reached $400 billion last year.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during todays FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Todays event will discuss the BBC Two documentary Victorian Farm Christmas.



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The citys Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during todays Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the clubs website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBAs and Capital Legal Services event Arctic Expedition this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



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