In a joint position paper, Germany and France have rejected a blanket ban on Russian citizens entering the European Union, as proposed by several member states, notes the dpa news agency. While accepting that visa applications from Russian citizens should be carefully examined for potential security risks, the paper warns against underestimating the „transformative power of experiencing life in democratic systems at first-hand”. The French-German paper added that a blanket ban could lead to a rise in nationalist and anti-European sentiments in Russia. Romania said it will back the suspension of EU’s visa facilitation agreement with Russia, which will be discussed by EU foreign ministers meeting in Prague from today. The Romanian foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu backs the restriction of the movement of Russian citizens within the bloc, including for tourism. The Czech Republic, which is holding the Union’s rotating presidency, hopes the 27 EU member states will reach a consensus to implement this measure by October.

Eugen Cojocariu, Radio Romania International