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Declaration of Visegrad Group Ministers of the Interior

Brussels, July 19, 2004

On 11 September 2003, V4 Interior Ministers agreed to initiate enhanced cooperation in the preparations for joining Schengen. The Ministers concurrently confirmed their explicit interest to achieve full integration into the Schengen cooperation in the shortest time possible.
The Statement of 11 September 2003 became a framework for the establishment of V4 Working Group for Schengen Cooperation. It has been invited to check conditions and modalities for the joint submission by V4 States of an application for participation in the Schengen cooperation. The Group also created a platform for mutual collaboration among V4 countries in their preparations to implement the Schengen acquis.
The Working Group's initial meeting was held on 21 October 2003, followed by the meetings of 3 February, 14 April and 15 June 2004. The Group analyzed National Schengen Action Plans and adopted common rules to harmonize them.
Ministers of the Interior of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Poland and the Slovak Republic hereby declare that the degree of compatibility among V4 National Schengen Action Plans achieved so far as well as the progress made in their implementation by each State will enable V4 countries to submit an application for full participation in the Schengen cooperation at the same time under the following conditions:
  1. Taking into account the current schedule of transition to SIS II and having assessed the actual time required for the Schengen evaluations, V4 countries have determined October 2007 as their strategic term for full participation in the Schengen cooperation.
  2. V4 countries shall be prepared for the opening of Schengen evaluations as of 1 July 2006 bearing in mind the status of development of the SIS II. Evaluation of the SIS II related acquis may, however, begin once the access to SIS II for V4 countries is ensured.
  3. Necessary changes shall be made in the National Schengen Action Plans in accordance with the Rules for SAPs approximation at the time of next regular SAPs updates (Czech Republic—April 2005, Hungary—the first half of 2004, Poland—July 2004, Slovakia—September 2004).
  4. V4 countries shall submit as soon as possible, but not later than by the end of 2004, an application for the Schengen evaluation missions to be carried out simultaneously in all V4 countries with the aim of entering the full Schengen cooperation at the same time. However, this procedure, does not exclude the postponement of the accession of a V4 country in the event of a delay in preparations for proper implementation of the Schengen acquis.
  5. V4 countries shall closely collaborate in order to achieve a maximum degree of harmonization in the preparatory works for their simultaneous integration into Schengen at the earliest possible term.
  6. V4 countries shall notify each other of any facts that might lead to a delay in their preparation for the full Schengen acquis implementation.
  7. V4 countries shall cooperate in the drafting of their application for integration into Schengen cooperation and shall coordinate their actions during its submission.
  8. Such cooperation and mutual consultations shall continue to take place in the framework of the V4 Working Group for Schengen Cooperation.
  9. The next meetings of the V4 Working Group for Schengen Cooperation should deal with the issues of V4 countries' preparation for Schengen evaluation missions; development of joint strategy regarding launching of SIS II; exchange of information relating to taking concrete steps necessary upon fully entering the Schengen cooperation.
  10. V4 countries shall conduct continuous discussions and collaboration as regards their common positions for negotiations in EU working structures.

Done at Brussels, 19th July 2004

Minister of the Interior of the
Czech Republic
Stanislav GROSS
Minister of the Interior of the
Republic of Hungary
Minister of the Interior of the
Republic of Poland
Minister of the Interior of the
Slovak Republic
Vladimír PAĽKO

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