Simplification of Visa Regime Between the EU and Russia

Simplification of Visa Regime Between the EU and Russia

15.02.2006, 13:34
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Simplification of Visa Regime Between the EU and Russia
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   On February 14th French Prime Minister Dominique Villepin met his Russian counterpart Mikhail Fradkov. At the meeting among other issues Prime Ministers discussed visa regulations for Russian tourists. According to Fradkov, an agreement on simplification of visa regime between Russia and the European Union will be signed soon in order let it come into force until the end of 2006.
   Russian Prime Minister performed a curtsy towards France for being the first European country that made an agreement with Russia on simplification of visa regime. According to Russian tour operators interviewed by a BANKO correspondent, France is one of the most welcome Schengen countries as far as visa regime is concerned. ‘At the moment the demand for Europe is increasing therefore it is very inconvenient when such obstacles as new rules for visa applications adopted by the Austrian Embassy appear’, said Victoria Zhenchevskaya, Director of DSBW Travel Company. Travel market players anticipate that the situation with visas to Austria will stabilize by the middle of March following the end of winter season when Austria is on the list of Russian tourists’ priorities.
    Meanwhile, representatives of Russian travel industry are quite skeptical towards the statements of the officials as in fact visa regime for Russians is being stiffened at the moment. ‘I do not believe that simplification of visa regime will refer to common tourists. There still will be cancellations for some groups of people. Besides, I think that all previous regulations to simplify procedure of visa issuing were the initiative of the Embassies themselves due to their inner restructuring rather than the initiative of authorities’, said Svetlana Stroganova, General Director of Euro-Expo. ‘We hope that the situation will not take a turn for the worse, at least’, commented Elena Danilova, the Head of European Department of Inna Tour.

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