Schengen enlargement have been discussed by the Ministers of Interior of new EU member-states

Today, on November 30, in Vilnius, the Ministers of Interior of nine new member-states of the European Union (EU) agreed to support untitedly the alternative solution on the Schengen information system II (SIS II) at the Council of the EU Justice and Interior Ministers, which is scheduled for the beginning of December, with the aim to achieve the Schengen zone enlargement before the defined time – in the end of the year 2007.

The Ministers evaluated and supported the proposal expressed by Portugal, to include the new member-states to the presently existing SIS I +, and to call it SISoneALL. The proposal anticipates to include the new member-states to SIS I + system, that at the moment is used in the old EU states, in 12-month time. This solution is an alternative to the SIS II system, because of the delay in its development, the new EU member-states could join the Schengen zone not sooner than in the end of 2008 – a year later, than it has been planned before.

The introduction of SISone4ALL would allow to terminate the border control of the internal borders of the new member-states as soon as possible, which is the main priority of Latvia, therefore in Vilnius Latvia supported SISone4ALL establishmentas a tool that could allow to achieve this political aim. “Unity of the new member-states regarding the Schengen zone enlargement, in order to ensure free movement of goods, services and residents, can be complemented,” says the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ivars Godmanis.

At the same time Latvia invited to continue parallel development of SIS II according to the replanned SIS II project plan. According to the plan the technical integration into the SIS II system of the new member-states can take place not sooner than in the autumn of 2008, therefore it will not be possible to join the Schengen zone before the end of 2008.

The final decision upon SISone4ALL development will be adopted on December 4-5 at the Council of the EU Justice and Interior Ministers.

In the beginning of October the Council of the EU Justice and Interior Ministers expressed its support to the proposal of Portugal. In the middle of October technical experts of SIS II met in Portugal in order to discuss in details technical possibilities to enlarge the existing SIS I +, and they concluded that from the technical point of view the project can be implemented. On October 25, in Slovenia, the Ministers of Interior of the new EU member-states agreed upon the support to the proposal of Portugal, despite the expressed doubts about technical aspects of SISone4ALL, financial investments, as well as implementation of the proposal of Portugal within the defined schedule.

The Ministers of nine new member-states, except Cyprus participated at the meeting. In Vilnius Latvia was represented by the Minister of Interior Ivars Godmanis, Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry Ilze Petersone, Director of the Department of European Affairs and International Cooperation Tija Rinmane and the Head of the Schengen Evaluation Division Liene Simsone.

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