The cabinet has roundly endorsed signing up to the European Union's Schengen and Dublin agreements, claiming it is in the best interests of Switzerland and its internal security.This content was published on May 30, 2001 - 18:49
Responding to five parliamentary questions, the Swiss cabinet said closer security ties with the European Union had to be the way forward if Switzerland was to avoid becoming a centre for organised crime and a gateway to Europe for illegal immigrants.
The Schengen agreement, which has been signed by a majority of EU member states, abolished border controls between its signatories. It also provides for common policies to fight crime, as well as a shared system of investigation and information.
The Dublin agreement is a separate but related treaty focused on a common visa policy, which will be needed once border controls have been abolished.
It stipulates which member state is responsible for deciding individual asylum requests, making it more difficult for asylum seekers to lodge second and third requests with other member states.
In its responses to the questions, the cabinet stated that the EU, in setting up common policies on freedom of movement, security and justice, could no longer be ignored.
"In the context of the resurgence of cross-border crime, the current limited exchange of information between Switzerland and European member states is a considerable handicap for our country," said the justice ministry.
Signing up to Schengen Information System (SIS) would enable checks to be carried out on individuals via information databases.
"According to expert opinion, SIS is a crucial and indispensable weapon in the fight against crime. It is in the best interests of Switzerland to have access to it," added the justice ministry.
swissinfo with agencies
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