Visa Policies of European Union Member States -Monitoring Report
The Report is a result of cooperation between the Stefan Batory Foundation, Collegium Civitas and four non-governmental organisations from Eastern Europe: the Belarusian Centre for Social Innovation, the Moldavian Institute for Public Policy, the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights and the Ukrainian Centre for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy. The support was also provided by experts from various EU Member States and from the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.
The underlying surveys of this Report were carried out towards the end of 2005 in the Consulates of some EU Member States – in Kyiv, Chisinau, Minsk and Moscow. We surveyed the visa systems of Belgium, Finland, France, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. The project included interviews with 961 persons who had lodged visa applications, with 85% of the positive response ratio. Additionally, in-depth interviews were conducted with individuals who had been refused visas, as well as with Consulate staff.
The surveys showed, on the one hand, large discrepancies in the policies pursued by the individual Schengen States with regard to the granting of visas, and on the other, a number of similarities between the practices applied by the Consulates of the Schengen States and those applied by the Consulates of non-Schengen States. Some questions arise: What should be the direction of visa policy in order to prevent another ‘iron curtain’ on the Eastern EU border? Are the current discussions and negotiations on visa facilitation going to lead to significant modification of visa procedures for citizens from behind the Eastern EU border?