FECL 21 (December 1993/January 1994):

THE LONG MARCH TOWARDS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SCHENGEN AGREEMENT

At its first constitutive meeting on 18 October, the Executive Committee of the Schengen Group announced that the application of the 1990 Schengen Implementing Agreement had once again been postponed until 1 February 1993. The decision was justified with problems regarding the control of external borders, the combat against drugs, the setting up of the SIS (Schengen Information System) and the necessity of a constitutional amendment in France with regard to the Schengen countries' common asylum policy. According to most recent information, even the February deadline may not be met.

Indeed, it seems, that many more obstacles are preventing the rapid application of the Schengen Agreement by all signatory states.

Italy and Portugal must still deposit their instruments of ratification and some of the founder-countries of Schengen are expressing doubts on the organisational and technical capability of these two countries and Greece to effectively implement the agreement's far-reaching regulations in the field of policing and external border control. In any case, Italy, Portugal and Greece will not be able to implement the agreement on at the same date as the five founding member-states (Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands) and Spain.

As for the SIS, technical problems regarding the compatibility of the various national SIS-databases, even among the five founding Schengen-member states, remain to be solved.

While the decision to postpone the application of the Schengen Agreement once again, has been mainly attributed to continued French reluctance (see FECL No.16, p.1), it becomes ever more obvious that most other member states are not or not fully ready. Thus, for example, among the major international airports within the Schengen Area, only Frankfurt Airport can be ready by December to suppress passport checks for passengers travelling within the Schengen territory.

 

Source: Migration Newssheet, Brussels, No.128/93-11, November 1993, No.129/93-12, December.