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Interviews > August 6, 1998

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The Ukrainian Bar Association in Odessa
—оюз юристов ”краины > ¬семирна€ ассоциаци€ юристов

On March, 26, 1995 came into force the Schengen convention, which did away with the customs control for passengers and trade communication on the borders of the countries of the Schengen group. The consular attache of the Italian embassy in Ukraine Dr. Giuseppe BOLOGNINI speaks about the convention and about the rules of getting short-term visas.

I am glad to inform that on October 26, 1997 having fulfilled the conditions of the Schengen convention, which was signed in 1992, opened its borders for Austria and France. Thus, in former times the outer borders with our partners became inner borders of the whole Schengen community. Nowadays, having received a visa in the embassy in one of the countries of the Schengen group and having once passed the customs control on its outer borders, you can without the customs control cross its inner borders.

For what period of time is usually a short-term visa given and how often can a man use it ?

This visa (the only one for all - is green in colour and signed УEurope-SchengenФ ) is at must given for 90 days. During this period of time you can require your visa for one or more entrances, that means it can be used many times. As I have already said a visa can be used only in the course of 90 days since the day of the first visit. The date of the first visit is by all means indicated in the visa. While presenting the documents you have to inform about the number of visits you are going to realize during this period. Only this number of visits will be allowed to you to visit the Schengen community.

And what if I am going to visit some countries of the Schengen community, then to what embassy should I draw my documents ?

You should address the embassy of the country which is the main aim of your tour. In case it is difficult for you to decide what country to visit you turn to the embassy of the first country you are going to visit first of all or you can think of a transit visa. For example, if you want to visit Great Britain first of all and you have to go through the countries of the Schengen community, then you have to get a transit visa at the embassy of the country which is the first on your way.

Can tourist companies get documents for preparing Schengen visas ?

Firstly, this tourist company must be accredited by us. Secondly, it should have a commercial agreement about business cooperation with any Italian tourist company. Only in this case it is possible to speak about the preparation of documents by a company.

Is there a studentТs visa ?

Yes. We issue visas for students. But there are little of them as we looked through the existing procedure. Now, we do not adopt economic guarantees from the side of the third persons, citizens of Italy for training, but we demand real guarantees from a concrete man who goes to a country to study, or it can be a guarantee of the Ukrainian government, or a guarantee of the Italian government. Taking into consideration the money needed to fulfil all demands, the number of visas for students is not numerous.

What is the statistics of the delivery of visas ?

In 1996 we delivered about 26 thousand visas (including collective visas) for 38 thousand persons. In 1997 we delivered 29 thousand visas (including collective visas) for 39 thousand persons. In the first half of 1998 we delivered 11 thousand of visas. We have not delivered collective visas in 1998. As you see, there is a tendency to a considerable rise.

Is a marriage with an Italian citizen a reason to adopt Italian citizenship ?

The marriage with an Italian citizen is not a reason for the adoption of Italian citizenship though you can hand in such an application. On this case we take into consideration the fact where the marriage took place and how many years have passed since that time.

What about the procedure of labour arrangement in Italy ?

It depends on the kind of work. When you work on somebodyТs command the employer has to turn to the nearest Labour Exchange which is submitted to the Ministry of Labour with an application in which all the necessary information about you is written down. The Ministry of Labour (this cannot be done independefly) when the data is positive gives an individual decision. Then the search of employment of a demanded speciality takes place. And if it will become clear that none of Italians pretends to some definite work and that does not exist anyone (who is not an Italian citizen but constantly lives on the territory of Italy), only in this case one can get a job.

What policy do you pursue concerning those Ukrainian citizens who wish to get a Schengen visa ?

We do our best to simplify the procedure of getting a Schengen visa for person who wishes according to his economic and political motives to visit the countries of the Schengen group. At the same time we look for people who pursue quite different aims during their trips. Before we draw up a visa, we, by all means, have a consultation with embasses of countries - partners the convention. Our representatives in the embassy give us information from SIS in Strasbourg. This coordination of information demands time, that is why a Schengen visa is being put in order only 24-48 hours.

What kind of information is there in SIS ?

SIS is a Schengen Information System which contains all necessary information about people, who had once committed a crime or who had been involved in the actions directed against the economic or other important interests of other countries. Only information concerning some definite kinds of crimes are put down into the system. All other personal information is the property of the government.

How does it correlate with a manТs rights as to the confidentiality of information ?

I want to underline the fact that Italy has a very accurate attitude towards the divulgence of a manТs information and to its transmission to other people. Every manТs information is well protected and a small number of officials know it. Italy sends there only some definite criminal information. It does not send there, for example, the information about Italians who did not serve in the army of Italy or did not pay money for the medical ensurance, though according to the Italian law such people should be punished. To prove these words now we received a direction from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy about the fact that the information about Italian citizens must never be put into a General computer to be worked up by the SIS. That is why no restrictions of a manТs rights do not take place.

Who finances the special frontier officials ?

ItТs quite clear that the expenses of Italy for the maintenance of the frontier officials since the time Italy became a member of the Schengen community, have considerably increased because Italy is responsible for the problems taking place inside the country and for those of the Schengen convention and on the other hand we must not forget about the fact that in Italy Vatican and the Pope are located, and there exists the system УkaritalsoФ and the country always worries about poor people. Besides, Italy remembers the fact that once it was a country of emigration from which millions of people left the country after WW-I and WW-II. Now the country has become a country of immigration where thousands of refugees from the nearby УdangerousФ zone go.

Is the problem of illegal emigration really so actual today ?

Of course! But, to our regret, it is not the only problem. At present the market of labour suffers a deep crisis. For example, in Africa the market of labour is the poorest and is poorly paid. Besides, as to the geographical situation Italy occupies an inequal place among other partners. It is a spring-board towards the so-called УunhappyФ countries. Daily and hourly Italy is a zone where thousands of poor people from undeveloped countries come. They leave their countries because of the wars which take place in them and from the countries where people are cruelly oppressed. Kurds, for example. Of course, we have to settle the problems of high criminality, we do much to do away with prostitution, with wide spreading of narcotics and of AIDS. All clear when a country is at war it loses its control over its territory. For example, when Yugoslavia fell into some small countries and a war began, a lot of refugees hurried to the Northern part of Italy. There were attempts to bring to the country weapon and narcotics. There are some special centers for such people on the territory of Italy. As a result, our European partners did not agree with this and till the present time this problem remains to be actual. For example, Albania and Kosovo which are at war now, cannot do anything to do away with these problems.

What if the countries of the Schengen community separate from other countries and should create something like Уfortress of EuropeФ ?

To make Italy the Уfortress of EuropeФ or Schengen as the Уfortress of EuropeФ means its isolation, but isolation never gives good results because the Schengen community pursues political and economic interests. Though some countries-partners of the Schengen community suffer a crisis now this УfortressФ is the guarantee of human rights in Europe. That is why any man who wishes to live in one of these countries, can get a visa in one of the embassies and can freely cross the borders of these countries. From the other hand, the living standard in many other countries is much lower than in the countries of the Schengen community and those people who come here they achieve higher living standards than in their motherland. Besides, you remember that 6-7 years ago citizens of the USSR could not go farther than the countries of the Warsaw Treaty. And now any citizen of Ukraine, having handed in his reference, a reserved ticket, two questionnaires filled in Italian or English, two photos and the passport and he can go wherever he wants (to any country of the world).

What makes people leave their country ?

As for me, I think these people leave their countries because they want to live in a safe place without wars and political persecution. By the way, they are looking not only for a safe place, but for a richer place. They are moved by political and economic motives. Many of them use Italy as a base for further emigration to Central Europe and Austria.

What are the perspectives of the development of Schengen ?

I think that Schengen, by all means, will be developing. These countries which have normal life such as Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia will evidently take part in Schengen. Among the countries which showed their great interest in Schengen is Switzerland. Great Britain is still not member of Schengen. The expansion of Schengen means that people and different goods can easily move about Europe and people can cross the fronturs of any country without the customs control. All material wealth of civilization will be devided among the countries of the Schengen community. As far as you know, there is a great difference between the riches accumulated Central Europe and those which are in Ukraine, the Baltic countries, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan which are situated in the УsuburbsФ of Europe. Time will come when process of development and expansion will go to such a degree, that Schengen will become simply an episode in the expansion of United Europe.

How is it possible to achieve this ?

It is necessary to remember that УRich GermanyФ and УOld EnglandФ, Italy are separated from one another. Not long ago Germany were once devided into Western and Eastern Germany, Englishmen into Scotland and Wales. Italians wanted to devided their country into North and South because the South of the country has always been economically weak and so on. It is very important to find a way of getting aid of confrontation escalation of tension in future not to adminit УYugoslavianФ development of events. Now. You, Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians and others have become foreigners, citizens of different countries and nationalities. But you have got one common thing - your culture which has deep European roots and which has become a connecting unit between Western and Eastern Europe. But history was unable to change all this and this is the reason why we all are close neighbours and we must unite - But we need time for this. You - young, strong an clever young people will do this! You must believe in the unity of European culture! Each of us - you who apply for a visa and I, who signs it - understand citizens of what country we are. At the time, when we neednТt a visa, will mean that we have found balance - which enables us to remove from us tension, wars, hunger and other misfortunes for many years.

Thank you for having answered my questions!

*The interview was prepared by Sergei MAXIMENKO


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