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16.10.2007

On 21 - 24 September 2007, the Czech Republic was subject to an evaluation mission carried out with the aim to verify conditions of operation of the Schengen Information System (SIS). It was the last in a series of visits of foreign experts who have been - since 2006 - verifying the preparedness of the Czech Republic to join the Schengen area and to fulfill all related Schengen standards.

During the evaluation mission, the experts became acquainted with technical as well as practical aspects of the operation of the SIS launched in the Czech Republic on 1 September. The use of the SIS in everyday tasks of police officers, customs and other authorized authorities was presented via a number of presentations accompanied with inspections on the spot at selected workplaces. In several cases, experts used the opportunity to directly talk to police officers in order to check their knowledge about the use of the SIS.

The findings of the mission were summarized in the final report, of which draft was sent to the Czech Republic on 8 October. Its final wording will be discussed in Brussels at the meeting on 16 October between members of the evaluation committee and representatives of the Czech Republic; this meeting will provide Czech participants with the opportunity to raise any possible comments and to submit additional information.

Even though the current wording of the report is not the final one, it is obvious that the Czech Republic has passed the SIS evaluation successfully.

The evaluation report points out several positive aspects concerning both technical part of the SIS in the Czech Republic and professionalism of police officers working with the system.

In line with the practice, the report contains also some recommendations for further improvement of the system which have to be implemented by the Czech Republic. These recommendations form a standard part of every evaluation report. The number of recommendations is relatively small and concerns certain technical issues of the SIS operation. The Czech Republic will be able to fulfill these recommendations.

The result of the SIS evaluation in the Czech Republic and other 8 EU Member States finalizing their preparation for Schengen will be officially presented and discussed at the meeting of the EU Council working party Schengen Evaluation on 25 - 26 October. This meeting will be also the platform for the last round of expert discussions on preparedness of 9 states joining the Schengen area.

The final decision on abolition of border control at internal borders and enlargement of the Schengen area is to be taken by the ministers of the EU Council for justice and home affairs at its meeting on 8 - 9 November 2007.