Spain calls for visa-free arrangement with Russia

THE Spanish Ambassador to Russia, Jose Ignacio Carbajal, has said that Spain is advocating a visa-free arrangement with Russia despite the tense geopolitical situation over the Ukrainian crisis.

Carbajal said: “Despite the political situation, the maintenance of the visa instrument makes no sense.” He added: “Visas to Russian citizens make up almost 40 per cent of all the visas issued by the European Union, and two-thirds of those are for Spain.”

In an interview with the website he went on to say: “The visa system is useful only if a threat to national security exists, while Spain has no problems with illegal migration from Russia.”

Russia submitted a draft deal on simplifying the visa system to the European Union in 2010, but since talks were suspended due to deterioration of relations between Moscow and Brussels over the Crimea and Ukraine, little has been achieved.

However, a Russian Foreign Ministry Ambassador, Anvar Azimov, said: “Moscow will be ready to resume talks with Brussels on a visa-free regime as soon as the economic sanctions imposed by the European Union over Ukraine are lifted.”

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