08 May 2013

The Boston Marathon and the Visa Negotiations between the EU and Russia: Time to get real and positive

Michael Emerson

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Against the background of the Boston Marathon bombing as a violent reminder of the lawlessness throughout much of the Northern Caucasus, Michael Emerson calls in this commentary for a fresh direction in the EU’s negotiations with Russia over visa-free travel. While finding that a ‘visa liberalisation’ regime has a very slim prospect of materialising any time soon, on the other hand, he sees realistic possibilities for fast delivery of a ‘virtual visa free regime’ of the multi-year, multi-entry visa, which would be a real and important achievement for EU-Russian relations.

Michael Emerson is Senior Associate Research Fellow at CEPS and former EU Ambassador to Moscow.