Finnish PM leaves for Estonia to attend Schengen ceremonies 2007-12-21 20:31:22   Print

    HELSINKI, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen left for Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, on Friday to attend ceremonies marking the enlargement of the Schengen area, the Finnish government announced in a statement.

    The prime minister, accompanied by Justice Minister Tuija Brax, traveled by ferry also carrying delegates from Norway and Iceland, the statement said.

    Ceremony participants include Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and Member of the European Commission Franco Frattini.

    The Estonian president and the prime ministers of the other two Baltic States -- Latvia and Lithuania -- will also be present.

    Another ceremony will be performed on Friday in Zittau, in the border region of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

    On Saturday, ceremonies will be held on the same day in the border region of Italy and Slovenia and the border region of Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, where Finnish Interior Minister Anne Holmlund will be present.

    Nine countries, which joined the European Union in 2004, including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, will open their land and sea borders to other Schengen states on Friday.

    Internal border controls at their airports will be lifted on March 30, 2008.

Editor: Song Shutao
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