Austrian Foreign Minister urges Europe to reconsider the visa ban for Russians

Image of Russian passport. Credit: HJBC/Shutterstock.com

Alexander Schallenberg, the Austrian Foreign Minister urged the EU to reevaluate the visa ban for Russians.

 

Speaking during a conference at the elite French university of Sciences Po in Paris on Monday, January 16, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg voiced his belief that the EU should not consider a permanent ban on visas for Russian citizens.

As reported by the Kronen Zeitung news outlet, Schallenberg said: “We must not overshoot the mark, for example, by introducing a visa ban for 144 million Russians”. Russia will remain part of European history and culture he insisted, and that it is necessary to think about the future when discussing relations with Moscow.

The Foreign Minister stressed that there was no doubt about Ukraine’s full support in its struggle for sovereignty and territorial integrity. “The brutal war of aggression instigated by Russia is madness. At the same time, we also have to think about the day after, the week after, and the months after”.

Schallenberg criticised the decision last year of Poland – then chairing the Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) – not to invite Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to a ministerial conference in the Polish city of Lodz.

At some point, the European security architecture will have to include Russia in one way or another in the future as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and as a nuclear power, he pointed out.

The diplomat also urged Europe “not to lose the sense of proportion” in relation to Moscow. “What we do today will determine the status of the free world in the years to come”, he emphasised.

“The OSCE is one of the few remaining platforms on which Russian diplomats sit and have to listen to our arguments and our harsh criticism of the Russian war of aggression”, said the Foreign Minister.

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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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