Blog by Cecelia Malmstron – European Union Home Affairs Commissioner

More than 13 million visas are issued every year to people wishing to visit EU countries. Applying for a visa can be a very time-consuming and cumbersome process. In part, this stems from the fact that the present system cannot handle such large quantities of applications, and because visa handling routines are based on an outdated system of stamps. The EU has, for a number of years, worked on modernising the system for visa applications (VIS), and today, the new system was finally introduced for travellers from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauretania, Morocco and Tunisia.

From now on, citizens of these countries will benefit from a more effective system with clearer rules for visa applications. By using fingerprints and a digital facial image, applications can be handled faster. Also, information on short-term visas can more easily be exchanged between Schengen countries, to the benefit of those travelling within the Schengen area.

Today, a ministerial meeting was held with the Russian Minister of Justice, Alexander Konovalov, and the deputy minister for home affairs, Sergey Bulavin. These are fairly well-rehearsed events where most of the content has been pre-cooked by our negotiators. The major issue at stake is visa negotiations, where, for quite some time, we have tried to agree on the “steps to take” needed from the Russian side in order for real negotiations to begin on abolishing visas. As this is a complicated issue, member states have different views on the matter. Today, however, we managed to agree around a preliminary list of steps, and hopefully the last knots can be untangled at the summit between Barroso and Medvedev.

We also discussed cooperation in the fight against corruption, organised crime, smuggling of narcotics and trafficking in human beings, among other things. I also raised the unsolved murder of Natalia Estremirova and the Magnitsky case for discussion. Apart from the Polish Presidency, Denmark’s newly appointed Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov was also present at the meeting – it was good to get a chance to talk to him.

And it is with great worry that I have received news about the verdict against the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko. The trial against her has been neither fair nor transparent, and the entire process indicates a highly worrisome development in the country. payday loan займ на карту https://zp-pdl.com/get-quick-online-payday-loan-now.php https://zp-pdl.com/apply-for-payday-loan-online.php срочный займ на карту

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