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Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 19:56 GMT
Prodi urges Polish reforms
On his first official visit to Warsaw, European Commission President Romano Prodi has been urging Poland to press ahead with difficult reforms in preparation for joining the European Union.
Although he was encouraging, Mr Prodi said the Poles must understand German and Austrian fears they may face a wave of immigration following Poland's accession.
Germany is calling for a seven-year transition period, during which Poles would not be allowed to work in other EU countries.
Land for labour
But the BBC's Ray Furlong says the free movement of labour is an emotive issue in Poland.
"You have to understand the fear of Germany or Austria to be invaded by a flood of immigrants," responded Mr Prodi.
"I don't think that is true, but fear is fear and if you don't understand fear you don't understand politics."
EU members are expected to adopt a document before the end of March, to set out the conditions under which newly-admitted countries can gain access to the EU's labour market, although they are unlikely to specify how long an eventual transition would be.
But Polish authorities are demanding their own transition period - 18 years before EU citizens can purchase Polish land.
Our correspondent says everyone expects a deal to be struck in what Polish media are calling "land for labour".
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