Switzerland suspended the simplified visa regime for Russia

The government said it had “completely suspended” a 2009 deal that eased entry rules for Russian citizens into the Alpine country.

“This does not mean that a general ban on issuing visas to Russian citizens has been introduced,” the Swiss Federal Council said in a statement. It adds that the normal visa regime remains in place.

This move reflects a decision taken by the EU. The bloc’s countries agreed at the end of August to suspend a 2007 deal that made it easier for Russians to apply for visas to travel to the bloc, but refused to introduce a broader visa ban.

“Switzerland is interested in contributing to a common and harmonized visa policy in Europe,” the Swiss government said.

“Otherwise, it risks an increasing number of visa applications from Russian citizens seeking to circumvent EU rules being submitted to its missions abroad,” its statement added.

Traditionally neutral Switzerland broke with its usual stance and joined the European Union’s economic sanctions just days after the start of the Russian-instigated war in Ukraine, angering Moscow.

The decision has drawn some opposition in the wealthy central European country, with right-wing politicians calling for a national vote to confirm Switzerland’s impartiality.

But last week the government said Switzerland’s policy of neutrality remained “in force”, adding that it left “enough leeway” to respond to events across Europe since the war in Ukraine began.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.