EU continues visa-free status for Russian flight crews amid visa simplification talks
31.10.12 16:39 By News Dept.
Photo: RIA Novosti
After Russia's recent 'lapse' of visa free status for EU flight crews, the European Commission(EC) has decided not to bring retaliatory measures into place for Russian flight crews. The EC regrets that Russia has decided to renew visas for EU civilian air crews of some EU member states, due to a refusal by the EU to grant visa free status to holders of Russian "service" passports.
"This is contrary to the spirit of the agreement on visa simplification, which is being revised at the moment, especially when we have already agreed on the mutual rejection of visas for civilian air crews" European Commission spokesperson Michele Cherkone was quoted by Interfax as saying.
"The EC would prefer to solve the problem in a constructive way, rather than by introducing retaliatory measures from the EU", Cherkone said.
"In connection to this, the Commission calls on the Russian authorities to finish negotiations on a revised agreement for a simplification of the visa regime from its present form, which would remove visa requirements for members of civilian air crews from both Russia and all the governments of the EU", Cherkone added.
Yesterday the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that EU authorities could introduce visa requirements starting from 1 November for Russian air crews flying into the EU, in response to similar actions by Moscow. A ministry spokesman also accused the EU of delaying visa simplification talks.
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