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Poland and Kaliningrad: visa-free regime?

Poland and Kaliningrad: visa-free regime?
Poland and Kaliningrad: visa-free regime?

Poland intends to convince Brussels to introduce visa-free regime for citizens of the Kaliningrad region of Russia. On Monday December 27, 2010 it was reported by The Telegraph.

Poland believes that EU fears concerning the increase of the number of illegal immigrants, as well as growth of trafficking do not have sufficient grounds. According to the Polish side, possible violations can be avoided if a clear and detailed procedure for crossing the border of Poland and EU by the residents of Kaliningrad region will be introduced.

Currently, Polish-Russian relations have a tendency to improve relations and cooperation between the two countries. Poland's intention to lobby the issue of visa-free regime can be considered as one element that allows the country to confirm in practice the desire for good neighborly relations.

Kaliningrad is now a Russian enclave. Kaliningrad has land borders with Lithuania and Poland. For Russia, the introduction of visa-free regime between Kaliningrad and Poland would be an additional stimulus to economic development of the cut off from the "big Russia" region.

As for Poland, the attempt to introduce a visa-free regime with Kaliningrad, in addition to establishing friendly relations with Russia has also a very pragmatic goal. Currently Poland due to the outflow of Polish specialists in such countries as Britain and Germany has a difficult situation on their own labor market. Poland did not have enough hands and opening the border with Kaliningrad will primarily contribute to the Polish agricultural sector to fill labor shortages.

Currently EU law allows introducing a visa-free regime for citizens of countries outside the EU who live within 50 kilometers of the border zone. Poland must convince the EU authorities in adopting the necessary amendments to existing rules. In turn, Poland thinks it is senseless to use with Kaliningrad agreement on border traffic as the entire territory of the Kaliningrad region is only 5,800 square kilometers.

Date: 04/01/2011

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