FECL 51 (May/June 1997):

POLAND SEEKS EU SUPPORT IN STRENGTHENING EASTERN BORDERS

Poland is confronted with growing problems of border protection. According to a Polish memorandum sent to the EU member states and the European Commission, the problems are linked to "a serious increase in border crimes", with which Polish border police are unable to cope effectively because of "an insufficient technical and logistics capability".

 

Poland an entry door for "illegal immigration" to the EU

Poland's borders were crossed by 262 million people and 80 million vehicles in 1996. According to the memorandum, 111,000 people crossing the Polish border illegally were detained in the period from 1991 to 1996, while it is estimated that about the same number probably crossed the border without being detected. Most of the persons detained lately are said to originate from Asian and African countries, and were on their way to the EU.

Poland is currently making strong efforts to upgrade its border and other security controls, but the Government is asking for EU support in order to ensure that these upgrades remain in line with EU requirements and developments.

 

Move EU border controls to Poland?

The memorandum suggests transferring some EU border controls to the borders of Poland with Belarus and Ukraine. The proposal is in conformity with ideas already discussed within the EU in its discussion of Justice and Home Affairs cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries seeking EU membership. The memorandum further suggests relocation to the Eastern Polish borders of some border equipment rendered obsolete within the EU when border controls were scrapped between members of the Schengen group. Poland proposes that its proposals be discussed by a joint Polish-EU commission.

 

Source: Euro-East No. 54, April 1997.