Apart from border checks, the remaining obstacles facing the labour market between Slovakia and Austria should be removed, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on December 20 during an appearance with his Austrian counterpart, Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer. The two leaders were taking part in the ceremonial sawing off of the borders at the Petržalka-Berg checkpoint.
Austria and Germany have been the strongest proponents of placing and maintaining a transitional seven-year period limiting the free movement of labour from the eight former communist bloc countries now part of the EU.
Fico mentioned past concerns of the older Schengen members, as well as some positive views on this issue: "For instance, Irish President Mary McAleese has thanked Slovaks for contributing to her country's progress.”
As for the security on the border with Ukraine, the PM said that Slovakia has done a great job, so the EU doesn't have to worry about illegal immigration. Fico said that the termination of borders is often mentioned in connection with Schengen.
"But this is not true. The borders remain, as they are an integral part of every state. Now, it's only checks at the borders that are ending.”
Opposition SDKÚ-DS chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda asserted at a news conference on the same day that the key moments in the preparation for Slovakia's accession to Schengen zone began under his government. 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.
21. Dec 2007 at 8:00