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  Friday, August 23, 2019
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Vladimir Putin says that abolition of visas by Russia and the European Union is possible in only Russia accepts relevant conditions
"The Russian Federation itself has to do a lot," the president said in response to RIA Novosti's question when Russians will be able to travel to the EU without visas. "We cannot make excessive requirements to our partners until our neighbors and we have resolved border problems and until we have handled all readmission issues raised by our European partners," Putin said. "We often speak of a Europe without dividing lines, but this will be possible only when people are free to travel throughout the European continent," Putin said, adding that "visa-free travel is our ultimate goal". According to the Russian president, tackling the above issues calls for heavy spending on building relevant infrastructure on the Russian border and a lot of diplomatic work with the country's CIS neighbors. Putin voiced his hope that Russia would be able to reach an agreement with the European Union on easing the visa requirements for individual categories of Russian people - students, politicians, sportsmen and scientists - as was done with certain EU countries. At the same time, Vladimir Putin said he believed it was "wrong to tie easing the entrance visa regime with readmission". "These are not linked directly," Putin emphasized. "The Schengen agreements enable us to seek a compromise on individual categories of people without violating the Schengen agreements." Jose Manuel Barroso, chairman of the European Commission, confirmed that Brussels was ready to work with the Russian Federation on easing the visa requirements. "Our goal is free contacts among people," Barroso said, underlining the common interest of Russia and EU in joint efforts to stem illegal immigration. He said in this connection that both Russia and the European Union should jointly resolve the problem.
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