VILNIUS - Asta Skaisgiryte, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda's chief adviser on foreign policy issues, doubts that the European Union can reach a unanimous agreement on tourist visas restrictions for Russians.
Not only Germany, but also southern European countries are skeptical about the idea, she says.
"Probably not only Germany (does not support such an idea - BNS), I would also think about southern European countries that get a lot of income from tourism, especially now, in the post-pandemic period. It's important for them that tourism recovers, and Russians make up a large part of the tourist population," she told the public radio LRT on Thursday, adding that "this is today's reality today".
Lithuania might try to convince skeptical countries, she says, "but there are arguments that other countries have".
"We need a united EU position, and I don't see that united position yet," she underlined.
Lithuania was one of the first EU countries to restrict the issuance of new Schengen and national visas to Russian citizens after Russia invaded Ukraine. Latvia and Estonia later made similar decisions.
Tallinn has gone even further since Thursday and is not allowing Russian tourists with Estonian Schengen visas to enter the country.
The Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said last week a visa ban for all Russian citizens could be added to the existing EU sanctions for Moscow.
However, Berlin disagrees, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying that the invasion of Ukraine "is not the Russian people's war, it's Putin's war".