Efforts to safeguard internal security and manage migration flows have long extended beyond purely national boundaries. Today, European States need to take a common, coherent approach in such matters. The introduction of Schengen created a joint European area with no internal borders.
Participation in the Dublin System established uniform criteria for examining asylum applications, with each application clearly assigned to just one State.
The basis for Switzerland's participation in Schengen and Dublin was laid on 26 October 2004 with the signing of the two Association Agreements. The following year, on 5 June 2005, the Swiss electorate voted in favour of participation. Switzerland's participation in Schengen and Dublin has been operational since 12 December 2008. Since that date, Switzerland has adhered to the Dublin System. Also, since then, there have been no systematic controls on persons at Switzerland's internal Schengen borders (at airports since 29 March 2009). From that time on Switzerland also issues Schengen visas and accepts these for entry into Switzerland.
Through association with the Schengen and Dublin acquis, Switzerland is committed to implementing further developments of the Schengen and Dublin legislative frameworks. The SEM shares joint responsibility with the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) for acceptance and implementation of some 95% of all further developments. It thus participates in various EU working groups to help shape the changes and additions to the legislation underlying Schengen and Dublin.
The Dublin Area covers all EU Member States. The Schengen Area encompasses most EU Member States, with the exception of the UK and Ireland, which have opted not to implement all Schengen rules. Four other EU States (Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Croatia) are members but do not fully apply the Schengen rules.
The "associated States", i.e. Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, are the only non-EU Member States to fully apply the Schengen and Dublin Regulations.
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