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EU Proposes Introduction of Special Transit Documents for Kaliningrad Residents - 18 September, 2002

Romano Prodi, the Chairman of the European Commission, has today sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin explaining the EU's position regarding Kaliningrad. The Commission Chairman told journalists that the EU's initiatives are aimed at easing the movement of residents of the Kaliningrad Region after the EU expands. However, he added that the interests of residents of European countries must also be observed.

In particular, he was referring to a plan to issue special transit documents (either for free or for a small sum) to residents of the Kaliningrad Region. It is proposed that the documents would be issued by a special consulate in Lithuania according to a list supplied by Russia. The special visas would allow Kaliningrad residents to travel around the EU by road or by rail. The EU is also proposing a special non-stop high-speed train service.

Vladimir Putin is determined that the EU introduce a visa-free regime not just for Kaliningrad residents, but for all Russians.