Although the areas of justice and home affairs are bound to be less of a priority for the Czech Presidency than it was for the French, Prague still intends to address the issue of protecting children on the internet. It will also aim to advance the security of external borders related to changing technology, notably by launching the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), scheduled for 30 September 2009, and the Visa Information System (VIS) by the end of 2009.

These projects are "seriously behind schedule," said a spokesperson for the future Presidency.a"We need to use a better system to track missing and kidnapped children," the spokesperson added, moving on to speak about controls at external border posts to prevent child trafficking.

Much less attention will be given to the theme of immigration under the Czechs since the adoption of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum by the EU's heads of state and government in the middle of October under the French Presidency. A single conference on the opportunities offered by immigration is scheduled in Prague, on 26 -28 April.

"We will approach implementation of the pact in the same way we approach the fight against illegal immigration and the promotion of immigration of highly qualified workers," explained Milena Vicenova, the Czech ambassador to the EU, while presenting her country's priorities in Brussels, on 16 December.

So, no more grand European declarations against illegal immigration or in favour of selective immigration', as recommended by the French presidency. The main reason for this is that the Czech Republic, a former Communist state, is not yet subject to mass immigration. Nevertheless, it hopes to see the draft directive on punishing companies that employ people whose papers are not in order, through to a conclusion. The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on this in first reading in January,


Priority will also be given to child protection on the internet. The Czech Presidency intends to organise a ministerial conference on the subject in Prague, on 20...

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