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EU needs more time for biometric passports

China View | March 31 2005

BEIJING, Mar. 31 -- The European Union says the bloc needed another year to implement new U.S. rules on secure biometric passports, which include a computer chip with data such as a digital photo and fingerprints of the passport holder.

The EU's Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said that it would require more time, until August 2006, due to problems in adapting the new technology to passports.

The United States had already extended the original October 2004, deadline by a year.

But only six of the 25 EU countries — Belgium, Finland, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, and Sweden — will be ready to issue biometric passports by that date.

The United States is urging European countries to have new biometric travel documents in place as part of its tighter border security checks following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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