A Facebook page in Egypt was launched to speak up against the ill-treatment by European embassies in Cairo towards Egyptian applicants. The move comes nearly a month after Europe expressed shock and dismay over Britain’s decision to exit the European Union (EU), perceiving it as a regressive move to pan-Europeanism.
The page aims to expose negative encounters between embassy officials and applicants at different European embassies in Cairo, and pushes for an amendment to their policies. It started gaining momentum with an increasing number of stories published.
Omar Khalifa, co-founder of the page, explained to Daily News Egypt that the most common difficulty encountered at European embassies is not solely related to the entry visa status, but to the disdainful attitude of representatives, and the constant delay in appointments.
“Application appointments take from one month to three months to schedule,” he said. Khalifa said he had missed a scheduled travel date due to prolonged delays in the procedures for his entry visa status at the Hungarian embassy in Cairo.
Similarly, another citizen who spoke to Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity, said when applying for a tourist visa at the Greek embassy in Cairo, she had to change the flight dates, costing her about EGP 600.
Other problems included prolonged waiting hours outside the embassy, with no regard to seniors, children, or people with special needs. Moreover, the difference in language and currency was a major concern, with minimal or no assistance provided by embassy representatives.
“I was asked to pay fees in euros at the Hungarian embassy,” Khalifa said. “And when my visa request was rejected, I had to sign documents written in Hungarian with no translation,” he added.
Another student, who was already studying in Hungary and living there for about a year, had to go back to Cairo to renew his student visa and residency permit, but was never able to make it back to Hungary. The embassy claimed his application had gone missing, although he submitted all necessary documentation.
“I missed my scheduled flight, had trouble with my landlords in Budapest because my rent was due, and I had to pay my college tuition fees for the next academic year that same month. For all of that, I had to be present in Hungary myself,” the student wrote on the page.Top of Form
The top embassies, where Egyptians witnessed ill-treatment according to the page synthesis, are Hungary, Germany, and Spain. Daily News Egypt attempted to contact the Hungarian embassy and the EU press office, but there was no response.
Europe struggles to manage the more than one million refugees and migrants who arrived via the Mediterranean Sea in 2015, according to a report published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on 20 June.