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Slovakia ready to enter Schengen Zone: Austrian interior minister

Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák and his Austrian counterpart, Gunther Platter, signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Strengthening Bilateral Co-operation on October 8. It deals with the two countries’ cooperation both before and after the border controls are cancelled at their shared border.

At the Slovak-Ukrainian border checkpoint in Vyšné Nemecké (Košice region), Platter said he was satisfied that Slovakia's east border was ready for the country’s accession to the Schengen zone. The final decision on Slovakia's inclusion in the border-free European zone will be announced on November 8-9, he said.

Platter added that Slovakia has met the accession conditions, and much has changed over a short period. He said the European Commission was considering an earlier opening of the Schengen borders – more precisely before Christmas.

Both politicians viewed the border checkpoint, which will become the Eastern border of the European Union upon Slovakia's expected entrance into Schengen on January 1, 2008. According to the memorandum, if all the required conditions are met, all ground border checks would be abolished by the end of December this year, and the air border checks by March 2008 at the latest.

After Slovakia has joined Schengen zone, all checks at internal EU borders will be abolished, but those travelling to Ukraine will have to undergo passport and customs at either of the two border checkpoints - in Ubla (Prešov region), or in Vyšné Nemecké.

-TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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