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Schengen and Dublin rules set to be applied

Switzerland will be able to apply the Schengen and Dublin accords signed with the European Union, following modifications to laws on foreigners and asylum.

Parliament gave the go-ahead on Thursday after the House of Representatives voted in favour of the changes. The Senate had already given its approval earlier this year.

The modifications mean that the Schengen and Dublin rules can be introduced from November 1. However delays in the parliamentary ratification process in three EU countries have made it unlikely that the area will be extended to Switzerland before 2009.

The Schengen accord abolishes systematic controls on individuals within its zone of application and increases cooperation in the fight against cross-border crime.

The Dublin agreement aims to end asylum applications in more than one country. If an asylum seeker attempts to submit an application after previously applying in another state in the Dublin zone, that person can be sent back to where the first request was made.

Swiss voters accepted the two accords with the EU in 2005.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR