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Russia and the European Union simplified visa regimes
Russia and the European Union simplified visa regimes and introduced readmission norms from Friday as envisaged by an agreement reached at the Russia-EU summit in May 2006. Director of the consulate department of the Russian foreign ministry Vyacheslav Pavlovsky said “the document establishes simplified visa formalities for official delegations, businessmen and representatives of commercial companies, international passenger and cargo drivers”. The simplified regime also covers journalists, scientists, workers of culture and education participating in exchange programs, students and schoolchildren, participants in exchanges between twinned cities and in international sport competitions, as well as people wishing to visit graves of their relatives. As far as tourists are concerned, the EU will not raise the Shengen visa charges up to 60 euro for them and they will continue to pay 35 euro. The agreement covers 24 European countries and does not include Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark, which do not fully participate in the Shengen process. Russia is holding separate talks with them, as well as with Norway and Iceland, which are not EU members, but abide by the Shengen law. In Brussels the European Commission press service told Tass the simplified regime “was an important step towards visa-free travel between the Russian Federation and European countries”. However in Moscow, Deputy Director of the consular department of the foreign ministry Andrei Podyelyshev refused to predict when the visa-free regime was possible. “So far it is hard to speak about the time of visa-free travel. The agreement, which came into force, is the basis that would allow to enhance trust and remove all concerns in the sphere,” he said, clearly referring to readmission problems
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