By 2010, Russians will be able to travel to the countries of the European Union without visas, according to the chairman of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev.
'This project is currently being studied very actively, and we will reach a practical decision within the next few years,' Kosachev said. 'Such an agreement would allow Russians to travel to the Shengen zone without visas for periods of up to three months, though admittedly without the right to work or receive social welfare.'
He said that at present, however, talks were ongoing with regard merely to the easing of visa requirements for trips to the EU. Russia has already signed such an agreement with Germany, and plans to do so with Italy, France and other governments. Kosachev said that talks were being held with the European Commission to conclude a comprehensive agreement, which would include the Baltic countries.
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