The Spanish mint, the police and the Foreign Ministry have been working for the past few months on the design of a new counterfeit-proof Spanish passport. The authorities want to produce a much more secure document and one that fully complies with the new Brussels passport security criteria approved at a meeting last September. What is more, the government and the police want to make the documents tougher to falsify with the current immigrant explosion and the new immigration law which requires all immigrants to register. The new Spanish passports will also fall into line with the rest of the European Union. According to the police and the government, the Spanish passport is the easiest to copy and counterfeit in the European Union. The new model will include a series of measures which, it is hoped, will make falsifying Spanish passports impossible. The authorities are still experimenting with a variety of different styles, but the final model will include the holder's digital photograph and signature as well as a new watermark and various other security measures. The new passport, which will be printed in Spanish, French and English, is expected to come into service during the first few months of next year. But the authorities are well aware that merely intrducing a more secure passport will not completely eradicate counterfeit documents being produced so security systems are also to be increased and tightened with passport controls at airports and ports becoming more vigilant. Each passport holder will have his or her number entered into a computer connected to a central data base before being allowed entry. At the moment there are nearly half a million Spanish passports in “stock” in embassies and consulates around the world, but the new passport may also replace the different types of Spanish passports in use, with diplomatic and military passports being replaced by a single model. The Spanish did ask the European Union if the new passports could be bilingual in autonomous communities where there is a second language, such as the Catalan language in the Balearics, but Brussels unanimously rejected the proposal.


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