NEWS BRIEFS

Slovakia to join Schengen by 2007

THE SECOND generation of the Schengen Information System (SIS II) will be ready in March 2007, enabling Slovakia and the other new EU member states to join the Schengen area, according to the TASR news agency.

The European Commission announced the timing of the new system October 26 after a €40 million contract for the creation of SIS II was signed with an international group of IT firms.

States awaiting full inclusion in the Schengen area - in which there are no border controls - had expected that SIS II would be ready by the end of 2006.

SIS is a shared database that uses a computerised system to place alerts concerning persons or property at the disposal of the authorities of each member state.

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