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Switzerland moots scrapping passport checks at borders

The Swiss authorities are considering abandoning regular passport checks at border posts as part of a review of internal security and its policy towards the European Union.

The justice ministry said scrapping checks at Switzerland's borders was one of several options under consideration. A working group is due to present its findings by 2003.

A spokesman for the ministry said the government, in its foreign policy report, supported changes to the current system of passport checks at the border.

The ministry denied that the EU, which abolished internal border checks in 1995, was putting pressure on non-EU member, Switzerland.

However, the spokesman said it was in Switzerland's interest to consider all possibilities and increase cooperation with EU countries. As part of a series of bilateral treaties with Brussels, Switzerland will gradually ease regulations on immigration of EU citizens.

Switzerland also signed bilateral accords with its neighbouring countries aimed at closer police and customs cooperation and to clamp down on illegal immigration and organised crime.

swissinfo with agencies

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