The existing visa requirements for Russian and EU citizens are holding back the development of economic relations between Russia and the European Union, President Vladimir Putin said.
"I hope that we will be able to make progress in tackling the visa issue. We will not blow this situation out of proportion, but we are doing concrete things: I have a long list of countries whose citizens do not need visas to visit the EU," Putin said ahead of the Russia-EU summit.
This list includes Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Mauritius, Mexico and "lots of other states: 40 states, which are located thousands of kilometers from EU countries," Putin said.
At the beginning of November, the European Commission proposed adding five Caribbean countries and ten countries located in the Pacific Ocean to this list, he said.
"Bilateral trade between Russia and the European Union stands at approximately $40 billion," the Russian president said.
"The absence of unhindered people-to-people contacts is a factor that is holding back the development of our economic relations. We should all be aware of that," Putin said.
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