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Schengen co-operation facilitates travel across the borders of the Schengen member states by removing passport controls at internal borders. At the same time security is ensured by means of extensive compensatory measures such as tighter border controls at Schengen's external borders, mobile controls in the border areas, strengthening cross-border police co-operation, facilitating mutual assistance in criminal matters, standardising visa policy and introducing measures to combat firearms and drugs trafficking. The Dublin Agreement establishes mechanisms to co-ordinate responsibility for asylum procedures throughout Europe. To meet new challenges and to continue improving security, co-operation is to be further enhanced within a clearly defined framework. Any further EU legal measures however can only be considered as further development of the Schengen/Dublin acquis if they are directly linked to lifting border controls at the Schengen internal borders and to the above-mentioned compensatory measures.
Although Switzerland participates in the development of Schengen/Dublin law, it has no formal right to participate in decision-making. Switzerland retains the sovereign right to accept or reject any new Schengen/Dublin provisions or measures decided by the EU. Acceptance of new provisions or laws takes place in the form of an exchange of notes, which constitutes an agreement under international law. According to the Swiss constitution, the agreement must be approved either by the Federal Council or Parliament (depending on the content of the agreement). Decisions by Parliament are generally subject to an optional referendum. This measure ensures that Switzerland's system of direct democracy remains fully intact. If Switzer-land rejects any new provisions or laws, the Agreement can be terminated.
Since the Agreement was signed on 26 October 2004, the EU has notified Switzerland 137 developments (as at 19 september 2012), all to do with Schengen. So far there has been just one development with regard to Dublin.. The legal developments which Parliament has to approve or has already approved concern: The establishment of the IT-Agency, biometric passports, biometric IDs for foreigners, the Schengen Border Code, the border protection agency FRONTEX and the Rapid Border Intervention Teams RABIT, the Schengen Information System (SIS), information exchange between law enforcement authorities (the «Swedish Initiative»), the External Border Fund, legislation on weapons, the Visa Information System (VIS), data protection in the framework of co-operation between police and justice authorities in criminal matters, and repatriation procedures.
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