Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

Brussels, 10 November 2022

Today, the Council presidency and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a decision on the non-acceptance of Russian travel documents issued in Ukraine and Georgia. The agreed text is subject to approval by the Council and the European Parliament before going through the formal adoption procedure.

This decision is a response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine and Russia’s practice of issuing Russian international passports to residents of the occupied regions. It also follows Russia’s unilateral decision to recognise the independence of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008.

Russian travel documents issued in, or to persons resident in, Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine or breakaway territories in Georgia will not be accepted as valid travel documents for obtaining a visa or crossing the borders of the Schengen area.

Russian travel documents issued in these regions are already not recognised, or in the process of not being recognised, by EU member states. This decision aims to set out a common approach, ensure the proper functioning of the external border and common visa policies and safeguard the security of EU member states.

Source – EU Council


Passports issued by Russia in occupied regions: deal on non-recognition – EU Parliament

  • Russia has issued travel documents in regions of Ukraine and Georgia it illegally occupies
  • Proposal harmonizes the EU’s treatment of these documents
  • MEPs stress that those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine have a right to apply for asylum

The EP and Council have reached an agreement on not accepting passports and other travel documents issued by Russia in illegally-occupied areas of Ukraine and Georgia.

Today, negotiating teams from the European Parliament and the Council of the EU reached an agreement on a legislative proposal on the non-recognition of travel documents issued by Russia in occupied Ukrainian regions and so-called breakaway territories of Georgia, for the purposes of issuing visas or crossing the EU’s external borders. According to the proposal, the Commission should consult EU member states and draw up a list of Russian travel documents, notably passports, that should not be accepted going forward.

Right to enter the EU on humanitarian grounds

After agreeing to fast-track the proposal, MEPs requested amendments to the proposal, especially emphasising the right of everyone fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to enter the EU on humanitarian grounds.

Quote

After the vote, rapporteur Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) said: The European Parliament is committed to doing its utmost to continue to exert pressure against Russia through legal and political means to make sure Putin pays a high price for this illegal war and for the international crimes committed against Ukraine and its people.”

Next steps

Next, the Civil Liberties Committee and the European Parliament plenary will need to endorse the trilogue agreement. Once it has also been officially adopted by the Council and published in the Official Journal of the EU, it will enter into force on the day after its publication.

Background

Russia has been issuing passports to residents of Crimea since the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, and it is currently doing so in other non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine. The non-recognition of these Russian passports would apply when someone requests a visa to enter the EU or when they cross the EU’s external borders.

According to the Commission, almost all member states have already stated that they do not accept Russian passports issued in occupied foreign regions. The proposal aims to produce legal certainty and a coordinated, consistent approach.

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