June 21. 2024. 3:28

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Portugal ‘no longer at risk’ of being suspended from Schengen

Portugal is no longer at risk of being suspended from the Schengen area, the country’s intelligence platform, the Internal Security System (SSI), said on Thursday, stressing that it had overcome delays in installing the new digital and biometric border control system.

Responding to reports of a hypothetical suspension of Portugal from Schengen, suggested two weeks ago by Cabinet Minister António Leitão Amaro, and to comments quoted in the Expresso newspaper by a European Commission spokesman dismissing such a scenario, the SSI said in a statement that the Commission recognises the work that has been done.

“The European Commission … guarantees that it is cooperating with all member states, including Portugal, and there is no scenario of our country being suspended from the Schengen area,” reads the SSI statement.

“It neither denies nor corrects the SSI or the government. On the contrary, it corroborates the progress that has been made,” it adds, and continues: “It means that the SSI and the government are doing their duty, making every effort to ensure that Portugal is part of the new system.”

The announcement also states, ” As the European Commission, the government, and the SSI have said, Portugal is no longer at risk of this, nor does this scenario of non-compliance arise.”

The SSI, whose secretary-general is Paulo Vizeu Pinheiro, clarified that it had informed the government “about the tests and preparations for the entry into production of the Entry and Exit System (SES/EES) in October of this year and, six months later, of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).”

It also mentioned that on 29 April, it had warned the minister of “the need for Portugal to meet the deadlines … otherwise, it would risk being suspended from Schengen” and that any failure to comply with this process “would effectively jeopardise Portugal’s full participation” in the new system.

Furthermore, the SSI pointed to the authorisation of extraordinary expenditure of up to €25 million granted by the previous Socialist government in February to speed up the resolution of this situation, insisting that it and the government were “complying with the established timetable”.

“Since then, Portugal has been catching up with the delays, informing the government, the Commission, the relevant agencies and European partners at every step,” the SSI said, while stressing that failure to meet these deadlines would jeopardise the free movement of people and force the reintroduction of internal border controls, as well as controls in other member states on people travelling to and from Portugal.

(João Godinho – edited by Pedro Sousa Carvalho | Lusa.pt)

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