[Reader-list] Schengen For You, But Not For Me

Naeem Mohaiemen naeem.mohaiemen at gmail.com
Thu Apr 3 16:41:51 IST 2008

The final step of Schengen enlargement – controls at internal air
borders to be abolished in late March
Source: Press room - Slovenian presidency of EU

After the lifting of checks at internal land and sea borders with the
Schengen area Member States on 21 December 2007, when Slovenia and
eight other EU Member States entered the common area of free movement
without internal border controls based on a decision by the EU
interior ministers, border checks will also be lifted at air borders
on 30 March 2008

This will represent the final step in the abolition of controls at
internal borders.

 Based on its assessment that all nine candidates for enlargement of
the Schengen area, including Slovenia, were ready for full application
of the provisions of the Schengen acquis, the JHA Council on 6
December 2007 adopted the Council Decision on the full application of
the Schengen acquis in the Czech Republic, Republic of Estonia,
Republic of Latvia, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Hungary,
Republic of Malta, Republic of Poland, Republic of Slovenia and Slovak
Republic. With Slovenia's entry into Schengen, border controls at the
borders with Austria, Italy and Hungary were abolished, while at the
same time border controls at the border with Croatia were reinforced,
since this is now an EU external border. The entry into force of the
Council Decision allowed for the lifting of checks at internal land
and sea borders on 21 December 2007 and at air borders on 30 March

 The decision to abolish controls at airports at a later time has to
do with changes in flight schedules, which are made twice a year in
spring and in autumn. Apart from that, the reasons are also technical,
as the implementation of the Schengen regime at airports imposes a
strict separation between passengers on internal Schengen flights and
other passengers in international traffic. In addition to high
standards of physical border surveillance at land border crossing
points and the use of the Schengen information system, the rules of
Schengen external border control also require state-of-the-art
technology for border checks at airports, which are simultaneously
border crossing points at the external Schengen border (for
extra-Schengen flights)and crossing points of internal borders without
border checks (for intra-Schengen flights).

 To be able to meet the Schengen standards in air border control,
Slovenia had to upgrade its airport infrastructure to allow for
separation of passengers on Schengen and non-Schengen flights. Last
year certain construction works and other measures were carried out at
Ljubljana Jo~e Pu nik Airport to ensure the separation of internal and
external flight passengers (a new passenger terminal at Jo~e Pu nik
Airport was officially opened on 9 July 2007).

 For air passenger this means in practice that from 30 March onwards
border checks will only be carried out on non-Schengen flights, i.e.
flights involving the crossing of the external border. On these
flights, border checks will be carried out for all passengers entering
or exiting the Schengen area (including transit passengers catching a
connecting intra-Schengen flight). There will be no border checks for
internal flights from one Schengen country to another. The only
remaining checks will be security checks, which will be performed by a
security company and not by the police.

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