Britain does not hurry to impose visa-free regime with Russia

Britain does not hurry to impose visa-free regime with Russia

British Minister for European Affairs Chris Bryan gave an interview to the Interfax news agency, where he explained the reluctance of Britain to impose visa-free regime with Russia.

In the interview, he stated that, despite long-standing and strong relations with Russia, Britain sees no reason to rush things in the visa regime, citing a lack of readiness of Russia to take this step.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Russia. And very strong trade links throughout the centuries. I think that there is a couple of difficult questions between us”, – said Chris Bryan.

Between the reasons, he stated a high crime rate in Russia, a non-transparent economic system and the lack of guarantee of its stability and, consequently, investment in it. In addition, Britain is not satisfied with the approach to human rights and guarantees of freedom of speech.

“Many British have business in Russia, not only in the field of oil and gas. I am referring to Shell, BP and others. They work in other areas, there are law firms including. But there is a problem in Russia”, – said Chris Bryan.

In addition, the Minister outlined that the UK does not share the optimism of Spain. “If the Spanish want to do it quickly, many more countries would like to do it much slower. And if Russia first settle all the issues with organized crime, in that case it will be much easier”, – he explained.

However, in addition to Spain, Russia has other allies in the effort to abolish the visa regime. In early February, the Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou said: “We firmly believe that it will substantially contribute to further strengthening the ties between citizens of EU member states and Russia's citizens,” quoted ITAR-TASS.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini stated in an interview that to his opinion, a visa-free regime with Russia may be imposed in 2010 and recalled the new agreement of EU, whereby the right of veto was canceled and the principle of majority acts.

Russian experts cite a variety of possible terms of the abolition of visas between Russia and Europe: from one year to ten years.

In any case, experts are confident that this will not hinder relations between the countries to develop, and visas to Russia for foreign visitors will be issued quickly and easily.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010