Russia and the EU are one step closer to a visa-free regime, as a roadmap for the abolition of visas has just been finalized.
Under the plan Russia will need to step up its fight against illegal migration and crime. Russians will also have to be issued with biometric passports.
The next step towards a visa-free regime is getting all EU member states to agree to the roadmap. In Russia the document has to be approved by the relevant ministries and the president.
The new president of Latvia, Andris Berzins, has recently voiced his support for the idea. A visa-free regime would be beneficial for Latvia, Russia, and the EU as a whole, Berzins asserted.
Russia and the EU have long been negotiating the mutual abolition of visas for travelers. While the issue of full abolition has not been solved, several European countries, such as France and Italy, have agreed to ease the visa regime for Russian citizens.
According to preliminary agreements, the visa-free regime will concern only short-term trips totaling no more than 180 days annually. It will be in force only in those EU countries which are part of the Schengen agreement.