How is implementation of Directive 2004/38/EC?

The European Commission has set one of it’s “Main outputs for 2007” to be “Control of the correct implementation by the 25 Member States of Directive 2004/38/EC“.

I think this is important, and I hope the results are made public.

There are a few things I have noticed that are not going well with implementation:

  • Directive 2004/38/EC Article 5 (2) says that where non EU family members require visas, “such visas shall be issued free of charge as soon as possible and on the basis of an accelerated procedure.” Some member states only provides visas free of charge to some types of “beneficiary” family member, and it feels anything but accelerated.
  • Some embassies require an interview with everyone applying for a visa, including those applying under Directive 2004/38/EC. You have to often wait longer for an interview slot than for the visa itself. In addition, you are often required to call a very expensive telephone number to arrange the interview appointment. If you are lucky enough to live in the city of the embassy, then you only need to take a morning off work — otherwise you have to take a day off work to travel to the city for your interview in order to get your visa for the romantic weekend away in another part of the EU. Is this all strictly within the meaning of “free […] and on the basis of an accelerated procedure?” And then repeat the whole processes if you want to travel again a few months later.
  • Residence Cards must be issued within 6 months (Article 10 (1)). In Ireland they are often not, and the passport is kept for the duration of the application, severely restricting the free movement of the EU citizen and of the family.
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