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In 2010 the number of Russian tourists increased compared to the year before by more than 50%

09.02.2011

No. 48-E

In his annual foreign policy address to the Riigikogu, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet addressed the European Union-Russia visa dialogue and stated that in the long-term perspective, concluding a visa freedom agreement with a Russia that respects the rule of law is a natural development. “But the prerequisite is fulfilling various democratic principles and the agreed technical requirements. This is the position held by both Estonia as well as the European Commission, as expressed by its president José Manuel Barroso,” Paet noted. “It is also necessary to solve the problems regarding the border crossing between the European Union and Russia,” he added.

In 2010 the three Estonian representations located in Russia issued more than 70 000 Schengen visas. “In 2010 the number of Russian tourists increased compared to the year before by more than 50%. This confirms the fact that Estonia is becoming an increasingly popular destination among Russian tourists year after year,” said Paet.

In order to facilitate visits to Estonia, 14 visa representation agreements have been concluded. “This means that a Schengen visa for travelling to Estonia can be obtained through the diplomatic representations of other Schengen zone states. Currently we have concluded representation agreements with 14 Schengen states, by means of which 85 countries in various parts of the world are now covered,” said Paet. “Estonia itself represents the Netherlands, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, Finland, and Denmark in various cities,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that it is also important to go closer to growing Estonian communities. “Therefore we are planning to open an Estonian Consulate in Sydney this spring, which will serve Estonian citizens in both Australia as well as in New Zealand,” he emphasised.

Full text of the annual foreign policy address to the Riigikogu can be found here: http://www.vm.ee/?q=en/node/10792

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