The liberalization of the visa regime between the European Union and Russia is hampered by technical and legal issues rather than political considerations, a EU lawmaker said on Monday.
A group of EU parliament members is currently on a visit to Russia to discuss Partnership for Modernization and the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia.
"I think there are no political problems if we are speaking about general visa liberalization because those people who will gain from that freedom are first of all the citizens of the Russian Federation," Kristiina Ojuland said at a news conference in Moscow.
Ojuland said, however, that there are many technical and legal issues that have to be resolved before a non-visa regime could be introduced.
She added that the next round of Russia-EU talks on visa liberalization should take place in May.
Moscow has made visa-free travel between Russia and the EU a foreign policy priority.
Russia submitted a draft agreement on scrapping the visa regime to the EU at the Russia-EU summit in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don in May last year, but Europe has been reluctant so far to move ahead with the issue amid concerns that a visa-free regime could lead to a rise in crime and illegal immigration.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called on the EU to determine visa scrapping terms and schedule without further delay, saying failure to do so was causing problems in relations between Moscow and Brussels.
MOSCOW, April 11 (RIA Novosti)