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Future work of the Special Committee of Senior Officials for the simplification of frontier formalities

Recommendation 236 (1960)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly Debate on 22nd January 1960 (30th Sitting) (see Doc. 1077, draft Recommendation submitted by the Legal Committee). Text adopted by the Assembly on 22nd January 1960 (30th Sitting).

The Assembly,

Noting what has been accomplished by the Special Committee of Senior Officials for the Simplification of Frontier Formalities, in particular with regard to :

the suppression of visas and passports for the purpose of travel between member countries of the Council of Europe ;
collective passports for young people ;
travel for refugees ; -simplification of frontier formalities for European motor vehicles ;
simplification of inspection at frontiers ;

Noting that many questions are still pending, among them those of :

collective passports ;
currency permit control ;
the problem of the green card ;

Noting that results have been obtained despite great difficulties and that these difficulties have been due not so much to the political wishes of Governments as to opposition from administrative departments, which all too often seek, on grounds of technical complications, to retain prerogatives that are, by their very nature, obstacles to a more rapid unification of Europe;

Considering that since 1955, in its Recommendations 84, 85, 86, 97, 165, 192 and 216, the Assembly has continued to urge Governments to take steps to simplify frontier formalities as requested by all member countries of the Council of Europe, and that the great increase in tourist travel makes it imperative to institute a spot check system ;

Believing that such measures, which would greatly facilitate exchanges between countries, are in no way likely to curtail the present statutory powers of police services at frontiers, and that in case of emergency such facilities would, if need be, be withdrawn ;

Considering, for example, that the time spent before embarkation and the time required for journeys by air are out of all proportion to each other, particularly for short journeys ;

Believing that European standardisation of travel documents is eminently desirable ;

Recalling that the measures already adopted to relax formalities have greatly impressed public opinion and are likely to reduce present public scepticism about the work of international organisations ;

Congratulating the Special Committee of Senior Officials for the Simplification of Frontier Formalities on its action and the success it has achieved since it was set up, but noting regretfully that the Ministers Deputies, without abolishing the Special Committee altogether, have set out to make it virtually impossible for the Committee to pursue its studies and action and have reduced its meetings to one a year, a policy which clearly shows a determination to do away with this Committee whose driving force has impelled Governments to take action and achieved positive results ;

Sharing the view of the Chairman of the Special Committee that a single meeting could accomplish nothing of any positive value and would merely be a waste of time and money ;

Considering that a number of problems have not yet been fully settled, among them :

the extension of the agreement on the movement of persons ;
implementation of the agreement concerning refugees ;
collective passports ;
currency permit control ;
problems relating to the international movement of motor coaches and commercial vehicles and international insurance of motor vehicles ;

Believing that the importance of the aforesaid problems makes it necessary for the Special Committee to continue its work,

Accordingly recommends to the Committee of Ministers that the Ministers themselves should hear the Chairman of the Special Committee on this subject and then take a decision in full knowledge of the facts.