FirstFT: EU plans to suspend visa travel deal with Russia

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Hello. EU foreign ministers are set to suspend the bloc’s visa facilitation deal with Moscow in a bid to cut the number of travel permits issued after some eastern member states threatened to unilaterally close their borders to Russian tourists.

Some countries have demanded collective action to prevent ordinary Russians from traveling to the EU on tourist visas, in the latest challenge for the bloc as it tries to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine while maintaining the unity among its 27 members.

Some countries stopped issuing visas to Russian tourists shortly after President Vladimir Putin ordered the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. They have since demanded that Brussels enact a full ban, echoing a call from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

But others continued to grant travel documents, allowing Russians with visas to travel anywhere within the Schengen free movement area.

As a first step, ministers plan to lend political support to the suspension of the EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement at a two-day meeting in Prague starting tomorrow.

Finland, Estonia and the Czech Republic are among the countries that have asked Brussels to implement an EU-wide ban on new tourist visas for Russians wishing to enter the Schengen free movement area .

“It is inappropriate for Russian tourists to walk around our cities, our marinas,” said a senior EU official involved in the talks. “We must send a signal to the Russian population that this war is not acceptable, that it is not acceptable.”

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Have a good week. — Sophie

1. ECB officials warn of ‘sacrifices’ needed to rein in soaring inflation Price growth risks spiraling out of control unless strong action is taken, European Central Bank officials said at a weekend gathering of central bankers in Wyoming, United States. Lower growth and lower job creation both contribute to a high “rate of sacrifice” that will be needed to bring inflation under control.

2. Floods in Pakistan kill over 1,000 people and threaten economic recovery Pakistan is experiencing its worst flooding in at least a decade, killing more than 1,000 people, damaging nearly a million homes and wiping out crops such as rice and cotton. Officials estimate that more than 30 million people have been affected, around 15% of the population, and the climate catastrophe has added to Pakistan’s financial distress.

3. The Hong Kong tycoon calls the bottom of China’s real estate crisis Adrian Cheng, managing director of Hong Kong-listed New World Development, plans to invest Rmb10 billion ($1.46 billion) in land over the next year in major Chinese cities such as than Shanghai and Shenzhen. Many analysts say Chinese property prices in the area could fall further amid a liquidity crunch and a slowing economy, but Cheng remains optimistic that a recovery is imminent.

4. South Korean shipbuilder bets on methanol-powered ships Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, one of the world’s largest shipbuilders, expects orders for methanol-powered vessels to rise as environmental regulations encourage alternative fuel sources. The shipping industry accounts for 3-4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which it hopes to reduce by at least 50% by 2050.

5. Record gas prices threaten to trigger a recession in Europe The EU will call an emergency meeting of energy ministers as gas prices soar to a record above €343 per megawatt-hour ($100 per million British thermal units) on Friday. The crisis has spread to all industries, threatening sectors ranging from glassware to food production.

The day ahead

Presidential debates in Brazil The presidential candidates take part in a televised debate today.

Economic data Hong Kong Releases Monthly Real Estate Data Today; Vietnam publishes monthly data on inflation, trade and industrial production.

What else we read

A post-dollar world is coming The dollar jumped this month to levels not seen in almost 20 years. Since the 1970s, the typical rally in a dollar cycle has lasted around seven years – the current rally is in its 11th year. A decline could be near, and this time the decline of the US currency could last even longer than the decline it experienced two decades ago.

The conflict between European port cities and the cruise industry Cruises are back on the vacation agenda after a two-year downturn. But as demand for cruises approaches pre-pandemic levels, residents and politicians in the cities where cruise-goers disembark have not welcomed them with open arms.

No country for young men in Silicon Valley For decades, very young company founders have brought the innovation, disruption and vision that the tech industry is proud of. But the next generation of young prodigies hasn’t arrived, reflecting both America’s changing demographics and the industry’s new landscape.

Tips for quiet quitters If you’re going to relax, you should do it smart. Come to the office regularly to signal your commitment, don’t change course too abruptly, and make sure you don’t inadvertently increase the workload of your colleagues.

Germany’s cheap transport system reaches buffers Germany’s Affordable Ticket Experiment – a €9 per month ticket for local trains and public transport – was introduced to soften the blow of the cost of living crisis and tackle climate change by encouraging people to abandon the car. It proved extremely popular – which made it even more difficult to pull it off.

  • Opinion: “It’s the uncertainty, not the delay, that holds you back at the end”: Tim Harford reflects on the horrors of modern train travel.


As Amazon launches its new power rings series, which begins airing September 2, Stephen Bush returns to The Lord of the Rings’ lasting legacy of adaptations for radio, stage, television, film and games.

© Tim Marr

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