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‘Gymnich’ begins in Prague, Russian tourist visa ban proposal on agenda

czech meeting 2
Foreign ministers at start of EU informal meeting in Prague

Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides will have bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of Estonia and Ukraine on the margins of his participation in the informal meeting of the European Union’s foreign ministers, taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday in Prague.

One of the main issues on the agenda is the proposal by Estonia and other Baltic and eastern European countries for a total ban on tourist visas for Russian citizens by all EU member states.

Cyprus and Greece have rejected this proposal, while Germany, as well as High Representative of the Commission, Josep Borrell, have also disagreed.

The informal meeting, known as Gymnich, of the members of the EU’s foreign affairs council is being held in Prague, under the ongoing Czech presidency of the EU council.

The informal meeting is not expected to produce results regarding the Russian tourist visa proposal. However, international media have reported on the possibility of a proposal to suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia, which would not result in an outright ban, but would slow down application procedures.

According to a press release, Kasoulides will have separate meetings with Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, and Ukrainian foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba.

The meeting will begin on Tuesday with a discussion of EU-African relations.

On Wednesday morning the foreign ministers will focus on developments regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and will then participate in a lunch organised by the Czech presidency along with the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

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