BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 19:17 GMT 20:17 UK
Poland to buttress expanded EU borders
Polish troops
Conscripts currently patrol the Polish border

Poland has pledged to hire thousands more border guards and tighten immigration controls before it joins the European Union.

The commitments allowed it to conclude talks with the EU on the sensitive issue of justice and home affairs and stay on track to wrap up entry negotiations in December, along with nine other applicant countries.

But there are renewed warnings about difficulties ahead.

Many in the European Union fear that eastward expansion will bring more illegal immigrants and higher crime levels.

To reassure them, the biggest candidate country, Poland, plans to hire more than 5,000 border guards by 2006 - 50% more than at present.

Most of them will replace conscripts currently patrolling Poland's 1,200 kilometre (745 mile) border with Ukraine, Russia and Belarus.

Visas for neighbours

There are also plans to build new border stations and buy modern equipment such as helicopters.

To fall into line with EU requirements, Poland will also introduce visas for Russians, Ukrainians and Belarussians in less than a year's time.

Up for EU entry
Estonia
Latvia
Lithuania
Poland
Czech Republic
Slovakia
Hungary
Slovenia
Turkey
Cyprus
With one million visas expected to be delivered every year, a Polish senior official said new visa offices would be opening in the autumn.

The first will be in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which will be cut off from mainland Russia once Poland and Lithuania join the EU.

Visa fees will be set as low as possible, a border guard said.

"It is not in our interest to make the life of our neighbours unnecessarily complicated," he said.

Having concluded talks on this sensitive area, Poland hopes to be one of the 10 countries expected to wrap up EU entry negotiations in December.

But there are no guarantees.

Voter rejection

By late October, EU governments have to agree on how much aid to grant to farmers and poor regions in eastern Europe.

If there is no unanimous agreement, a senior EU official warned, there will be delays.

There are also fears that, at around the same time, Irish voters may reject for a second time the Treaty of Nice, which paves the way for expansion.

If that happens, according to a senior diplomat, we will enter extremely complicated waters and the result is impossible to predict.

See also:

29 Jun 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
22 Jul 02 | Europe
02 Apr 02 | Country profiles
08 Apr 02 | Europe
29 Mar 02 | Europe
04 Jul 01 | Politics
30 Nov 01 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes