Swiss happy with more Schengen oversight

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga has welcomed a decision by EU member states to reinforce political oversight of the Schengen Area.

This content was published on March 8, 2012 minutes and agencies

The EU interior ministers decided on Thursday in Brussels that the European Commission would report back every six months on developments concerning the zone to help identify problems at an earlier stage and decide on possible measures.

Other countries associated with Schengen – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland – will also discuss the commission’s reports within a mixed committee to help improve efficiency and guidance.  

Speaking in Brussels, Sommaruga said the fact that countries that are not EU members would take part in these talks was a success, and she hoped that issues such as visa exemptions or simplifying entry requirements would also be part of those discussions.      

While easing entry requirements could be positive, she warned that it could lead to increased asylum requests. Visa exemptions, she added, should possibly only granted under very specific conditions.

Under the Schengen Agreement, the area operates with border controls for those travelling in and out of its zone, but with no internal border controls.

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