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Latvia Will Join the Schengen Agreement in 2009 at the Earliest

According to the Latvian Ministry of Internal Affairs, Latvia and other new EU member states will be able to become full-fledged parties to the Schengen Agreement in 2009 at the earliest.

The EU Council of Ministers of Justice and Home Affairs has adopted a new schedule of commissioning the Schengen Information System (SIS II). According to this schedule, SIS II will become available to the 'old' EU member states in June 2008, and only then will it be possible to begin integrating the new members in the system. That could take another three months.

Following that, a decision will be taken on the completion of the technical integration, and then the new member states will undergo an evaluation of the implementation of SIS II. It is only after this that the Council will decide on the new countries' preparedness to join the Schengen area. Therefore, the MIA of Latvia predicts that the country will not be able to fully accede to Schengen before 2009.

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