Worldwide news | EU countries will discuss reducing Russian tourism, according to Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg, EU nations would propose restricting Russian tourism.

According to Bloomberg on Thursday, the Baltic republics would discuss with Poland and Finland how they can collectively lessen the number of Russian tourists visiting their countries. The subject may be discussed at a meeting as early as next week.

According to the business news agency, two anonymous EU diplomatic sources confirmed the scheduled encounter.

Following the EU's failure to agree to a bloc-wide ban on providing non-essential visas to Russian citizens, the talks would take place. Member states chose the less harsh course of action of cancelling a 2006 deal with Russia that allowed a streamlined visa application process during an informal conference of foreign ministers this week in the Czech Republic.

Poland, Finland, and the three Baltic states were among those who favoured the stricter restriction. The five EU countries have expressed worry that Russian citizens would be a security hazard because they share a land border with Russia.

Due to the suspension of direct flights between EU nations and Russia due to the situation in Ukraine, neighbouring countries have seen a significant increase in Russians crossing their borders by land. They are looking into alternative strategies to reduce the number of Russian tourists in the absence of a complete ban.

"Estonia and other countries that share a border with Russia and Belarus will consider a national visa ban or restricting border crossings for Russian nationals with EU visas," Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in a statement following the meeting in Prague. "Until we have reached an agreement on how to restrict the entry of Russian nationals to the European Union."

Individual members have the power to put their restrictions on Russians, something some already did before the EU meeting. In the middle of August, Finland declared a crackdown on tourists from its neighbour, claiming it would henceforth only accept 100 visa requests daily, down from roughly 1,000. The restriction will be in effect as of this Thursday.

Russian residents are no longer eligible for visas from the Baltic states; the only exceptions are those who are travelling for humanitarian purposes or in an official diplomatic role.

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