Czech Republic still pushing for original date of Schengen expansion

06-10-2006

Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer, who sharply criticized a year long delay in the expansion of the Schengen border-free zone at a meeting of EU interior ministers on Thursday, has said the Czech Republic would continue to push for the original date to be kept. The delay is allegedly caused by technical difficulties in setting up a new police data base for the expanded region. Mr. Langer said the Czech Republic supports a Portuguese proposal to upgrade the existing police data-base for the time being while simultaneously working on the new one. He said this would be worthwhile despite the fact that it would incur additional costs, because the delay itself would be very costly for the newcomer states. For instance 600 border policemen would have to be kept at the border instead of being moved elsewhere. A final decision is to be made in December.