EC suggests easing border crossing with EU for Russia’s Kaliningrad residents

The European Commission proposed facilitating border crossings with Poland and Lithuania for residents of the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, EC representative Michele Cercone said.

Under the proposal, the entire Kaliningrad region and a specific border area on the Polish side are considered the border zone. Residents of such areas will be issued a special permit enabling them to cross the respective borders regularly and to stay up to two days at a time.

Russia is ready to liberalize its visa regulations for EU tourists and businessmen as soon as European leaders approve, President Dmitry Medvedev said earlier this month adding that Russia is ready to ease visa rules as early as “in half a year” should Europe favor this.

Medvedev said in mid-June the work on the stage-by-stage plan to lift the Russian-EU visa requirements would be finalized by the end of July.

Russia and the European Union have already reached an agreement on long-term visas, for up to five years. The EU currently issues short-term visas from several days to one year, although the Schengen Agreement allows five-year visas.

Five-year visas will not be issued immediately but only after a person has received a short-term visa and proved his responsibility.

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