Visa Freedom Working Group was abolished during the Autumn Agora in Cagliari. Even though the Working Group stood against visa within Europe and helped the members with their Visa issues, the Working Group itself was not active anymore, so the abolishment was the right call. The AEGEEan asked Alfredo Sellitti, Policy Officer on Youth Mobility and former member of Visa Freedom Working Group, about the abolishment and what will happen next.
Visa Freedom Working Group was created because everyone dreamed of a borderless Europe and with freedom of mobility to all students and youngsters in Europe: Visa represents the impediment of this dream to come true. There are still countries where it is required to have Visa in order to visit other EU countries.
For every event organized by AEGEE, there are for sure some participants who will need support with their Visa issues. AEGEE is providing them useful tips and all the support they need so they can apply for Visa.
The Visa Freedom Working Group was initially called Visa Freedom Fighters Working Group, but in 2009, they deleted the word ”fighters” because it had an agressive meaning.
Being asked about the impact that the Visa Freedom Working Group had, Alfredo said “During its’ best period of time, it was a great tool for raising awareness among members about visa issues, and helping locals to deal with invitations and the necessary bureaucracy to allow members who needed a visa to participate actively in any event around the network. Luckily, first the Schengen agreement and the increased number of bilateral agreements afterwards reduced the number of Countries needing visa to travel to / from EU Countries to few, consisting today in the EaP (ed. Eastern Partnership Program) Countries and Russia, reducing considerably also the target of the Working Group itself.”
The Working Group was active, present at Spring Agora Alicante in 2011, then in Skopje in autumn, EBM Izmir 2012, Spring Agora Enschede 2012, at Summer Universities in 2012, Agora Budapest 2012 and Agora Rhein-Neckar in 2013. During all of these events, there were either workshops or they prepared something for the Fair, like games, maps, videos, useful informations or quizzes.