Croatia: We don’t have an opinion on the proposed EU travel ban for Russians

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Croatia's foreign ministry told state agency Hina that they "have not yet taken any position" regarding calls from some EU countries to ban Russian nationals from entering the EU's passport-free Schengen Area.

Some EU countries, including Finland, the Baltic states, and the Czech Republic, are calling for a complete ban on Russian travel into the Schengen Area. Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Jan Lipavsky, said that the matter would be discussed at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers in late August.

“Asked by Hina about Croatia’s position on the possible entry ban for Russian citizens, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs did not provide a concrete answer, but it stressed it respected the common European policy,” state agency Hina said on Thursday.

“Croatia, as an EU member state and a candidate for accession to the Schengen Area, respects the provisions of the common EU visa policy. Member states adopt a single decision on the visa regime in order to ensure a uniform application at the level of all EU member states,” Hina quoted the unsigned reply they received.

The EU had earlier partially suspended the agreement between Brussels and Moscow on visas, banning privileged EU entry for Russian officials and businessmen close to the ruling regime led by Vladimir Putin. The suspension, however, does not apply to ordinary Russians.

But some EU countries propose tighter restrictions, which probably means no more visas would be issued to any Russian passport-holder. “An EU-wide visa ban for Russian citizens could be another very effective sanction,” Lipavsky said last week.

On the other hand, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose government is accused by its critics of being close to the Kremlin, opposes the idea.

Although Croatia had joined the EU in 2013, it has not become part of the EU’s passport-free Schengen Area yet, and the current government hopes the country might join the system early next year, in parallel with the replacement of its currency, the kuna, with euro.