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EU newcomers ready to join Schengen area
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11:51, October 27, 2007

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All nine new EU members are ready to cancel the border controls at their internal borders and join the Schengen free movement area by Dec. 21, interior ministers and representatives of most EU countries agreed in Prague on Friday.

According to "Prague Declaration" the ministers approved during the meeting, the countries seeking the Schengen membership have implemented all required measures and can permanently join the free movement area.

"I think the declaration clearly proves what is behind us and what is still ahead of us," Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer said.

Portuguese Deputy Interior Minister Jose Magalhaes said that some new countries had introduced and integrated the Schengen information system that includes information on wanted persons, people with rejected entry to EU countries, stolen cars and arms, as well as stolen or lost personal documents in a very good and creative manner.

The meeting of the ministers in Prague, which followed the previous meetings in Warsaw, Bratislava and Malta, was the last gathering on the issue of expansion of the Schengen area before the November session of the Council for Justice and Internal Affairs.

Along with representatives of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovenia, there are also delegations from Portugal, now presiding the EU, and other EU countries.

The European Parliament is to decide on the affair on Dec. 14.

All nine EU newcomers planned to introduce the Schengen system at their land borders on Dec. 31, and international airports by the end of next March.

After entry to the Schengen area, checks on the internal borders between most old EU countries and some of the new EU member states will be lifted.

Cross-border police cooperation would ensure more security than current border controls for the countries in question, Magalhaes said.

Source: Xinhua

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