MEP Yana Toom: Bar on Russian citizens with Estonia-issued Schengen visas 'absurd'


Member of the European Parliament Yana Toom (Center) has called Thursday's decision by the government to bar entry to Russian citizens holding Estonia-issued Schengen Area visas 'absurd'.

Talking to Russian-language ETV+ show "Suvine horisont", Toom said: "This is an absurd situation. [Foreign Minister] Urmas Reinsalu proposes to ban Russians holding a Schengen visa issued by an Estonian embassy from entering Estonia, while [Prime Minister] Kaja Kallas supports him, as does [Interior Minister] Lauri Läänemets, who it seems is such a stellar social democrat that perhaps with such convictions, he should join EKRE."

"Simultaneously, all other Schengen Area states have to admit Russian citizens with Estonia-issued visas. We cannot make decisions for the entire Schengen Area, but fortunately only for ourselves," she went on.

"All we can do is deny [entry] to the visa [holders] that were issued just yesterday. I think we might look a little weak-minded in all this," Toom continued. "But that's the intention now," she added.

At the same time, she noted, Russian citizens who held Schengen visas issued by other member states could, as things stand, enter Estonia.

Toom also said she did not think the measure would achieve its proposed goal.

"I don't think this idea can't meet with success, since sanctions have a legislative definition. The purpose is to preserve or restore peace, to preserve democracy. I can't imagine, in my little head, how a ban on the entry of Russians can restore peace in Ukraine. I can't get my head round this," she went on.

Estonia has also, joined by Latvia and Lithuania, proposed barring entry to all Russian citizens into the EU as a whole, which Reinsalu says he will raise at an EU foreign minister's meeting in Prague at the end of the month.

The bar on entry to Russian citizens holding Estonia-issued Schengen visas comes into effect next Thursday, August 18.