Putin seeks easier Russian-EU travel on road to visa-free regime
eling between Russia and the EU should be made as easy as possible as part of the transition to a visa-free regime, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
"We should move to a visa-free regime together with our European colleagues, since the majority of the partners in Europe support this idea," Putin said at a meeting with students at the Siberian Federal University in the eastern Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. Several EU states reject the idea, mainly for political reasons, he added. In July Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed the adoption of a visa-free regime between Russia and the EU with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Berlusconi said there had been a certain resistance to a visa-free regime in Europe, especially from some Eastern European countries.
"This is probably connected to the history of these countries during the Soviet era," Berlusconi said. Russia has already signed an agreement on a facilitated visa procedure for several categories of its citizens, including students, postgraduates, journalists and some others, Putin said.
"As for students, we came to decision at least not to take money from them [for visas]," Putin added. Russia presented the EU with a draft agreement on abolishing the visa regime during the Russia-EU summit on May 31-June 1 in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.