Posts Tagged ‘european parl’

June 2013

MEPs threaten to block visa-free travel for Russian officials

Financial Times

Senior members of the European parliament are threatening to block a measure allowing some Russian civil servants visa-free travel to the EU unless the union in turn blacklists Russian officials linked to human-rights abuses.

On Tuesday 48 MEPs signed an open letter to demand that Brussels implement its own version of the US “Magnitsky list”, signed into law in December by President Barack Obama, which has sent US-Russia relations to their worst point in years.

The ban could be implemented only if the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, formally made it a condition of accepting visa-free travel for Russian civil servants, something the Kremlin has long sought from Brussels. So far the commission is “considering” such a condition, according to someone familiar with the situation, but could be forced to impose it if parliament had the votes to block the visa-free regime.

“Of course, if parliament makes it a condition for its consent, then at the end of the day we will need parliament on board,” the person said.

However, the commission appears to be preparing a compromise that stops short of the parliamentarians’ demands, according to an official in Brussels. Instead of a strict travel ban on certain Russian officials, it would consider restricting their access to the visa waiver.

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