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Hungary ready to meet all EU border control requirements by summer 2007

Hungary will be ready to meet all border control requirements set by the European Union's Schengen Agreement by the summer of 2007, Justice Minister József Petrétei said in Budapest on Tuesday.

The EU's council on justice and home affairs resolved a week ago to start including EU members that joined in 2004 in the Schengen border regime as of December 2007 for land borders and March 2008 for airports. Hungary has common borders with non-EU countries Ukraine, Serbia, and Croatia, current EU-members Austria, Slovakia, and Slovenia, and soon-to-be EU member Romania. Noting that Hungary already had been in two-thirds conformity when it joined the EU in 2004, Petretei added that "we have to be ready to meet all conditions for joining the border regime as of the summer of 2007."

A major part of still ongoing preparations is legal rather than technological, he said, adding that he expected parliament to pass the necessary legislation at its spring session. Joining the Schengen system will involve a gradual elimination of checks along borders between EU member states starting in December next year, provided that the new members meet all customs and security requirements as defined by the organization. (