Norway and the other Nordic countries will join the passport-free Schengen zone within the European Union starting March 25, 2001.
The decision was made unanimously by a committee of EU justice and interior ministers. The measure means that all Norwegians can travel passport-free within the 16 countries that will then comprise the Schengen area (named for the city in Luxembourg where the terms of participation were negotiated). In exchange, Norway must expand legal and police ties with the Schengen countries. Before the borders are opened Norway will also have to adapts its border control system to that of its fellow Schengen members. In January EU inspectors will perform a final inspection of Norwegian airports, ferry terminals and border checkpoints to confirm that all Schengen rules are being followed.