https://www.rt.com/news/563012-estonia-finland-russians-ban/EU countries in conflict over legality of banning Russians – media

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Finnish diplomats have warned that decision to refuse entry to Russians on the basis of nationality violates EU law

Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers grounds for Estonia’s general entry ban for Russian tourist visa holders “legally questionable”, This is reported by the Finnish state broadcaster Yle. The ban could violate both EU law and the rules of the Schengen zone, diplomats say, according to a memo prepared by the ministry of the country’s government.

“Estonia is trying to invoke the fact that Russian and Belarusian tourist visa holders directly threaten public policy, internal security and international relations on the basis of their nationality. This interpretation by Estonia can be considered legally questionable.” the memo reads, as quoted by Yle.

Targeting Russians based on their nationality is against the rules of the bloc, and Finland itself is not “prevent entry of Russian tourist visa holders directly on the basis of nationality without violating EU law,” noted the memo. While Finnish diplomats apparently believe Estonia has violated EU laws with its visa relocation, Helsinki has made no public comments on the matter.

Estonia previously announced the decision to refuse entry to Russian tourists holding a valid Schengen visa, regardless of which EU country issued them. The ban is expected to come into effect on Monday. A similar ban was announced earlier this month by Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

While Finland has avoided a blanket ban on Russians, it has itself reduced the issuance of tourist visas to the country’s nationals to a small fraction of its previous number. The European Council subsequently suspended the visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Russia. While the measure did not directly ban issuing visas to Russians, it increased visa application fees and processing time.

Earlier this week, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin called for more EU sanctions and urged that current restrictions, including the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement, be lifted. “not enough” and the block should put in more effort to hurt ordinary Russians.

“We have to be ready to take more sanctions because the more impact we have.” [have] with sanctions, the more expensive it will become for Russia to continue this war.” Marin told the European Parliament.

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