A che punto siamo con “l’unione” nell’Unione Europea

Un piccolo articolo che ho scritto qualche settimana fa per la ONG Mistral, che si occupa di promuovere e rafforzare i diritti dei cittadini europei all’interno dell’UE.

Quattro interviste a quattro cittadini italiani che raccontano come trasferirsi da un Paese all’altro in Europa non sia così semplice e anche come la situazione in Svezia non sia tutta rose e fiori come alcuni in Italia credono.

Voices from EU citizens

Mistral has conducted interviews with four EU citizens. Here are their stories.
«I had problems with more or less all public agencies: with the Tax Office, with the Employment authority, even with the banks. Everywhere I went, I was never able to get full and complete information, it was always partial and sometimes also incorrect».
The story of Annamaria Vercellone, 58 years old from Vercelli, is similar to the one of many others European migrants, not only Italians: They move to Sweden convinced by the work opportunities the European Union offers, but they are faced with a reality that is very different from the one described in the medias and by the institutions. In practice what is a fundamental principle of the EU, the free movement of workers, is being hampered by government agencies that place many obstacles and limits to its application. Bureaucracy and lack of knowledge often come into the way of a correct application of the free movement of persons.

«Before I moved – tells again Annamaria – I, of course, informed myself, searching for useful information on the Internet, but what works in theory is very different from practice. Everything is complicated in this country if you do not have the famous, personnummer, Swedish identification number. At the beginning I had only a samordningsnummer, which is a provisional code to pay taxes as a foreign worker, and the banks refused to open an account so that I could my salary paid despite the fact that I had my Italian passport and the employment contract with me. Everywhere I went, and I do not speak only of banks, I met incompetence and superficiality».
Now that elections are approaching, it will be the chance for Annamaria to enforce her opinions. «I follow politics and I already know who I will vote for. I would like that the government give more attention to the rights of European migrants and not only to the rights of asylum seekers. Moreover I would like a significant improvement of the healthcare system: the Swedish physicians should always focus on the “sick person” and not only on the
“sickness”. I think that there is an absurd and incomprehensible detachment between the patient and the physician»Less complicated is the story of Ettore Bellini, 44 years old from Venice.

«I arrived in Stockholm in October 2014, as I am married with a Swedish woman. My wife wanted our child to grow up here because the opportunities given by the Swedish welfare system are much better than in Italy. At the beginning it was not easy. There are many cultural differences and some are difficult to understand: to speak always in a low voice, the silence in the metro, the closed and cold people, but also the extreme autonomy of individuals even in their family». From the bureaucratic point of view Ettore didn’t have to face many obstacles. He didn’t notice a big difference with the country he comes from.
«In Sweden I have the impression that the system works well, although many people who work in government agencies are often not fully prepared for what they are doing. On the contrary in Italy it’s the opposite situation: the system doesn’t function and is only saved by the ability of workers who are able to find a way in the labyrinthine depths of bureaucracy».
The Swedish elections are taking place in a few days. «Recently I have applied for citizenship to have the possibility to decide who will govern me. And even if I am still waiting for the answer of the migration office, I will give my vote, at least for the local elections. I follow the Swedish politics, but sometimes it’s a little bit difficult for me: there are not many in-depth programs and talk shows such as the ones broadcasted in Italy, therefore you must really engaged yourself if you want to have a clear idea on the program of the parties».

Francesco Martelli, 33 years old from Turin believes that employment is one of the most important topics for people who migrate. «I arrived in Sweden in 2010 to do an Erasmus of six months at Växjö. I met a young woman and after having graduated in Italy, I moved definitively in 2012 to stay with her», he tells. «My approach was not the best one. At the beginning I had difficulties with the language and then came also difficulties to find an employment. Arbetsförmedlingen, the Swedish Employment Agency didn’t help me at all and I found work only thanks to contacts through friends of friends. They explained to me that in Sweden it’s very important to know the right people to find an employment, exactly like in Italy».
Francesco has already voted in the past and he knows his rights and duties. «I admit that I follow more the Italian politics than the Swedish one, however I want to give my opinion. I would like for instance that the new government could simplify the access to the personal identification number, if we consider the difficulty people have in their life without it. For a foreign person it would be a big step for integration in the society».

The story of Lino Ianieri, 63 years old from Naples, is more particular than all the others, but maybe it summarizes better the difficulties EU-citizen face when trying to assert their rights.
Lino was born and grew up in Sweden and two years ago he returned to Sweden to search for an employment.
«My mother was Swedish and I speak Swedish fluently. Therefore it was natural to me to return here to search for an employment, even at my age. But the start has been quite a shock», tells Lino.
«As I was born in Stockholm, I had a personnummer but it was “inactive” because my family moved to Italy when I was 7 years old. The Swedish Tax Office wanted an employment contract of at least one year to reactivate my personnummer and this has been very difficult to achieve at the beginning. Moreover as I already had the personnummer (although inactive), the Tax Office didn’t want to give me a samordningsnummer: I was stuck in a paradoxal situation. Therefore I went to the Employment Agency convinced that they would help me search for a good job. But this wasn’t the case: the employees replied that I had to search and find it by myself. Worse than in Italy!»
So I thought, why not become a citizen? «I tried but the Migration Office replied that as my parents did not apply for the double citizenship when I was young I couldn’t get it anymore. It’s a pity, because I am Italian and Swedish», says.
Lino didn’t even know that with the personnummer he had also gained the right to vote at the local and regional elections. Although he would like to change some things in the society he lives in and isn’t hopeless, he explains. «I would like that the Employment Agency works better, that’s right. However, although I can, I don’t believe I will vote. The Swedish politics remembers me too much the Italian ones: a lot of words and few facts».

Valerio Pierantozzi, Translation Laura Bonetti

Here the full report from Mistral on the swedish parties political agenda for EU citizens.

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