Minister Edtstadler Defends Visa Exemptions for Russians

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: February 21, 2023; 22:58 ♦ (Vindobona)

Austrian Europe Minister Karoline Edtstadler has defended Austria’s decision to grant visas to the Russian Delegation amidst the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly.

Europe Minister Karoline Edtstadler Has Defended Austria's Decision to Grant Visas to The Russian Delegation. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Christoper Dunker

European Minister Karoline Edtstadler defended the entry permit for Russian parliamentarians for a conference of the OSCE on February 23 and 24. "It is a commitment to issue the corresponding visas here," said Edtstadler in Brussels today. The OSCE is an international organization based in Austria and the members have to be able to participate in the meeting.” she said, according to ORF.

However, the visa applies "exclusively" to the participation in the session and "for no other events and certainly not to participate in the academic ball," emphasized the minister. Edtstadler also said that she "had no reason to assume that the visa issued for this purpose would be exceeded here". There have been speculations that the Russian parliamentarians would take part in the event organized by the FPOE on February 24 as part of their OSCE visit. As stated by ORF, the Russian delegation manager Pjotr Tolstoj denied the project on the weekend.

According to, The rules of procedure of the parliamentary assembly do not allow a suspension of countries that violate the striking OSCE principles and international law, wrote Margareta Cederfelt. She also turned against the idea of canceling or postponing the winter conference taking place every year in Vienna. "We would make it too easy for the Russians if we cancel the meeting or prevent Russian participation," she argued. For these MPs, it was "easy to sit in Moscow". "We have to force them to hear the reality of their decisions."

Also according to, in advance, the decision to lead the parliamentary assembly had also provided criticism for not offering journalists access to the conference. This was justified by problems with logistics and security. The Association of European journalists (AEJ) and the association of the foreign press in Vienna protested against this step-out step. Observers put the restrictions in the context of the obvious efforts to show a closed picture of the conviction of Russia and, under individual MPs, not to give a media stage away from the official agenda.