Paris has confirmed that it has no plans to restrict Russian-registered vehicles from entering France, despite the European Commission granting member states the right to impose bans. Some EU countries located on the border with Russia have already implemented restrictions. The French Embassy in Moscow clarified this information in response to an inquiry from Russia’s Izvestia newspaper, stating that there are currently no changes to the rules regarding EU sanctions on Russia. French officials also stated that there are no intentions to introduce any restrictions in the near future.
On September 8, the European Commission clarified that sanctions on Moscow would mean that passenger cars with Russian license plates entering the bloc would be considered prohibited imports, regardless of whether they are used privately or for commercial purposes. However, the implementation of the ban was left to the discretion of member states.
Despite these guidelines, Paris has decided not to follow the lead of other EU countries. The French government’s stance means that Russian-registered vehicles will continue to be allowed entry into the country. This decision is in contrast to Poland, Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, which have all implemented entry bans for cars with Russian license plates. Lithuania has made an exception for Russian cars transiting through the country to the exclave of Kaliningrad.
The European authorities initially stated that Russian citizens would not be able to bring certain personal items and hygiene products into the EU, even when traveling as tourists. However, they later relaxed this position and recommended that customs authorities act in a proportionate and reasonable manner. Nonetheless, vehicles still require particular attention regarding potential sanctions violations.
In response to the measures taken by some EU countries, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, described them as “racism.” Russian citizens traveling to or staying in EU countries have been advised to thoroughly weigh up all the risks associated with these restrictions.
Former President Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, has gone so far as to call for the temporary suspension of diplomatic relations with the EU. This stance reflects the growing tension between Russia and the European Union over recent geopolitical developments.
Overall, while some EU member states have opted to impose bans on Russian-registered vehicles, France has decided not to follow suit. The French government’s position is that there are no plans to introduce any restrictions at present or in the near future. The implementation of the European Commission’s guidelines regarding sanctions on Russia has been left to the discretion of individual member states. These differing approaches highlight the complex dynamics at play within the EU and the ongoing geopolitical tensions between Russia and the EU.