Friends of VIS was established in 2008 and its members include representatives of all EU member states with the exception of the UK and Ireland. Four countries which are not EU states are also members of the Friends of VIS, i.e. Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. Operating under the leadership of the Presidency, Friends of VIS comprises senior officials from the states participating in VIS responsible for coordinating national services involved in the VIS project, together with representatives of the European Commission. FoVIS is an informal group cooperating with all interested parties on progress in implementing the VIS both at central and national level. The group's aim is to provide an additional coordination and support mechanism for the development and implementation of national elements of VIS until the achievement of full system operation. FoVIS members also meet to share experiences gained in implementing the VIS. The VIS allows for the streamlining of cooperation between the visa authorities of member states, including in the fields of common visa policy, prevention of visa shopping and identification of individuals who may not fulfil the conditions for entry, stay or residence in the EU. During the Polish Presidency, the start-up of the VIS will be celebrated on 11 October 2011, which is a great distinction and challenge for Poland. The first FoVIS meeting after start-up of the system will take place on 26 October 2011 in Warsaw, during which a demonstration of VIS functionality will take place. Aside from its formal value, this meeting will also be aimed at promoting Polish culture. The event organiser is the IT Projects Centre at the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, in particular the European Projects Department, responsible for providing organisational, legal, technical and administrative support to the Government Plenipotentiary for preparing government administration bodies for cooperation with the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Visa Information System (VIS).