Border restrictions in force at Slovenia-Croatia border

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(21 Dec 2007) SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot of border post, Slovenian and EU signs
2. Close up of Slovenia/EU border post sign
3. Traffic crossing border
4. Pan from sign: “All Passports” to “EU”
5. Traffic crossing
6. SOUNDBITE: (Slovenian) Robert Perc, Slovenian border police spokesman:
“A few hours ago Slovenia came into the Schengen and European circle, and we are here on the Obrazje border, the biggest border crossing with Croatia, which means that the Slovenian police have taken over the Schengen system of controlling and observing the border. This means that, after all these months and years of preparations for the Schengen system, we are ready for it.”
7. Various of border police checking passports
8. Police officer checking boot of car
9. Close up of food limitation sign
10. Travellers at border
11. Police officer checking inside of coach
12. Various of police officers checking passports
13. SOUNDBITE: (Croatian) No name available, Croatian citizen, Vox Pop:
“Completely normal like before, nobody is surprised. We knew the regulations from before.”
14. Various of border post
A beefed up border between EU member Slovenia and its non EU neighbour Croatia was evident on Friday as a line of border controls further inside the European Union bloc came down.
European leaders have been celebrating the end of border controls along a line stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic as many of the European Union’s newest members joined the EU’s passport-free zone.
But the move has forced the EU to tighten up controls along its new eastern borders to prevent infiltration by criminal gangs and illegal immigrants.
All the EU’s formerly communist members have been introducing tighter controls on the eastern border since they joined the EU in 2004, with funding from their richer neighbours.
“The Slovenian police have taken over the Schengen system of controlling and observing the border,” Robert Perc, a Slovenian border police spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the EU’s front line in the fight against illegal immigration remains to the south where thousands of poor Africans make the hazardous sea journey to the coasts of Spain, Italy, Malta and Greece, while would-be migrants from the Middle East and Asia take the overland route through Turkey and the Balkans.
The Schengen agreement is named after the village in Luxembourg where it was signed in 1985 by France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to allow citizens to travel freely between them.
Since then, they have been joined by Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, as well as non-EU nations Norway and Iceland.
Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Malta joined the EU in 2004, but have had to wait before gaining access to the frontier-free zone pending reforms to bring standards of their police and border guards in line with EU norms.

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