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Russia to allow visa-free travel to Swedes for a 72 hr period

April 29, 2011

Earlier we had reported that Russia and Turkey will soon open their borders for a 90-day visa-free travel for their citizens. Now Russia is to allow visa-free travel for Swedes who travel from Stockholm to Saint Petersburg by ferry as it seeks to persuade the EU to follow suit.

In an announcement made on a visit to the Swedish capital, Putin said it was a unilateral move but one that he hoped would ultimately lead to free travel between Russia and its European Union neighbors.

The tourists would be allowed to remain in Saint Petersburg for 72 hours without a visa.

Efforts by Russia and the EU to agree visa-free travel have continued for years without substantial progress.
While the EU does not require visas for nationals of some European countries outside the bloc, such as Serbia and Macedonia, it has so far rebuffed calls for waivers from Russia and other states such as Turkey.

Sweden, as a signatory to the Schengen open-borders agreement, had no right to enter into bilateral accords with other countries. But they hope to reach a solution to these migration issues as a believer in the free movement of people.

The Schengen agreement allows for passport-free travel in large parts of the European Union although France and Italy have recently called for it to be reformed in the wake of an influx of migrants from north Africa.



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