Select Committee on European Union Seventeenth Report



23. Witnesses were unanimous in acknowledging the importance of the Justice and Home Affairs acquis, in particular the rules on frontier controls, in the enlargement process. Adrian Fortescue, for the European Commission, commented on this, pointing out that in previous negotiations,

The EU acquis has moved on; JHA has now "gone up the agenda, not just in Europe but worldwide". Ministers of the Interior or of Justice were taking "a very big part" in enlargement negotiations for the first time. Also, the candidate countries this time had a "very different" recent history from the existing Member States. Not only would the candidates have to implement a sizeable body of law, but new relationships of trust would have to be established: "At what point in the process will our Member States feel comfortable with having as partners for co-operation in some of these very sensitive areas their opposite numbers in the candidate countries?" The building up of trust could take longer in the JHA field than in "the more classic economic chapters of … negotiation" (QQ 296-7, 306).

24. The Government also noted that this was the first enlargement negotiation since the Schengen acquis had been incorporated into the EU structures, and described it as "a new departure for us all". The UK, despite only seeking partial participation in Schengen, was taking "a very full part" in discussion on the JHA acquis. The relevance of Schengen frontier controls for the UK was underlined in the course of the inquiry[20] by the discovery of the bodies of 58 Chinese illegal immigrants in a lorry in Dover (QQ 1, 4).


25. It is clear that the Member States expect the candidates to meet the acquis in full, in accordance with Article 8 of the "Protocol incorporating the Schengen acquis into the framework of the European Union". The Government said that "the external border arrangements after accession are non-negotiable … they are laid down in the Treaty". Mr Järviö, of the Finnish Government, said that the Schengen Protocol "is quite clear", and "does not allow for derogations". Dr Lehnguth, of the German Government, agreed that "the Schengen standard must be completely fulfilled in order to secure the external borders". He said, "we are absolutely clear that there can be no dropping of security standards and that the newcomers must keep to the standards laid down by the old members … no exceptions can be made". He was then challenged that some existing Member States might not be complying in full with the Schengen standards, and that therefore higher standards were being demanded of candidates than of Member States. He replied, "I am of the opinion that most Member States do largely fulfil the Schengen standard … I am convinced Germany does fulfil all the Schengen standards" (QQ 10, 241, 266, 270, 267).

26. The candidate states are well aware that they will be required to implement the acquis in full, and witnesses from Poland and Hungary expressed readiness to satisfy this requirement. Mr Saryusz-Wolski, the Polish Minister for EU Integration, confirmed that "the Polish negotiating position on Schengen is that we would like to take the acquis communautaire from day one of our membership, the strategy adopted by our Government provides for full implementation of all areas of Schengen on our border". Mr Kendernay, of the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, said that Hungary too "accepts the acquis, including the Schengen acquis … We are ready to apply its rules and procedures from accession". The target date for accession set by both Poland and Hungary is 1 January 2003 (QQ 207, 361).


27. The Committee attempted to discover something of the kind of frontier regime which will be demanded of the candidate countries. Finland has long experience of successfully managing a frontier with Russia, and Mr Järviö, of the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, was able to give the Committee some indication of how this has been achieved.

28. Finland, he said, had applied the "broad principles of the Schengen acquis" for several decades, long before its accession to the EU. The rules, designed to "guarantee control of all traffic and validity of travel documents, on the one hand, and facilitating fluent traffic and contacts across the border on the other hand", were based on an agreement between Finland and the then Soviet government reached in 1960. This agreement was revised in 1998. Thanks to these agreements there is frontier co-operation between Finland and Russia covering "all levels". At the highest level the Frontier Guard chiefs exchange "strategic information on illegal cross-border phenomena". At the regional level "border delegates", usually heads of relevant frontier districts, exchange information relating to "regional phenomena and individual cases". Any incidents occurring at the frontier are processed at the regional level by the "border delegates", and never go to the capitals—in other words, they are dealt with by professionals who continue to do their job "even in times of political tension". At the lowest level, individual frontier crossing points co-operate, for instance "to solve the question of authenticity of particular travel documents". Mr Järviö told the Committee that the Finnish/Russian border was crossed more than six million times in 1999[21]. Of these crossings, 46% were by Russians, who require visas. The Finns have set up visa-issuing offices in St Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Murmansk and Moscow. Thanks to these offices there are no long queues at the frontier itself, other than those caused by Russian customs controls (QQ 241-2, 246).

29. Aside from emphasising the importance of comprehensive co-operation with one's neighbours, Mr Järviö made the point that the first principle of effective frontier control was to get the "basics" right. The frontier itself must be "determined and demarcated". The frontier authorities should observe the law, and should act professionally. Their objectives and their powers should be set out in clear rules, reinforced by training. Their job was to control traffic even-handedly, not to be oppressive. A set procedure must be followed before individuals could be stopped on the frontier, backed up by thorough risk-analysis. Frontier controls were never watertight, but the authorities had to analyse developments in illegal movement or trafficking constantly, shifting resources when necessary to respond to new threats: "when you have good strategic planning, you can be not one step ahead but, maybe, at least, almost in step with what the criminals are doing" (QQ 247-50).

30. By observing these basic principles, the Finns have avoided the stereotype of the Cold War frontier, with guns and dogs. Instead, most of the Finnish/Russian "green" frontier (the northern part of which, admittedly, runs through empty and impenetrable forest) is marked only by a clearing and a low fence—"maybe three feet high". There are frontier posts every kilometre, and while there is no meaningful barrier (the fence is "more for animals than people") there is "an extensive electronic surveillance system"[22]. When somebody crosses illegally the authorities are aware of it, and can respond, if not at the frontier, then in the zone inside the frontier. In the last three years there have been between one and five illegal crossings a year at the "green" frontier (Q 253).


31. In Mrs Pallett's words, "one of the compensatory measures of having no internal border controls is that you have very good-quality perimeter control". Witnesses made it very clear that the risks to the EU, should the security of that external perimeter be compromised, were grave. Broadly speaking there are two sorts of risk (though there is a good deal of overlap between them). The first is the risk of international organised crime, whose operations are greatly facilitated by open borders; the second is the risk of illegal immigration. The importance of these concerns to public opinion is paramount, particularly in the "front-line" states, Germany, Austria and Italy. As Dr Lehnguth said,

32. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain central and eastern European countries have seen a vast increase in cross-frontier crime, including smuggling of all sorts of contraband, stolen goods and drugs, as well as trafficking in women and children. However, this crime moves in both directions, as Dr Bruggeman of Europol pointed out:

    we are impacted by some criminal groups coming from these countries but we are also impacting these countries, for example, stolen cars are going from the European Union to these countries or transiting through these countries sometimes to the Russian Federation and so on. Money laundering and synthetic drugs, for example, are exported from here to some of these countries, although some … are now starting to produce synthetic drugs themselves.

A similar point was made by Inspector Borek, who told the Committee that the Polish police had recently dismantled "four large state-of-the-art Indian hemp plantations where the seeds and all of the computer controlled equipment were supplied by the Dutch, along with the entire know-how". But whatever the source and direction of organised crime, it is clear that much of it exploits the strategic position of the candidate states—in Mr Kotula's words, "It is simply a function of geography" (QQ 341, 163-4).

33. Groups from the former Soviet Union play a large part in this criminal activity. Such groups are not necessarily homogenous. Inspector Borek characterised them as "Russian speaking", but qualified this by saying that there were "no organised crime groups of a single ethnic composition". His colleague, Mr Kotula, cited cases of "Russians, Polish and Germans working in the same gang". A wide range of nationalities had been identified operating in Poland, including "Ukrainians, Germans, Belarussians, Russians, Italians, Turks and Vietnamese". A more recent phenomenon, raised in off-the-record discussions at the National Criminal Intelligence Service ("NCIS"), is the rise of extremely violent Albanian gangs. The Government view was that "there is clearly a lot of crime coming from beyond the applicant countries". The picture in reality seems rather more confused. Indeed Dr Deubner, while accepting that "Eastern European mafias" had moved into Western Europe, argued that the damage had already been done: "I am not so sure that we will have a truly additional effect from the Eastern enlargement. It is mainly the disappearance of the Iron Curtain which has permitted these … people to travel much more freely. Even under visa regimes, they will be able to get visas in all kinds of ways". He urged better police co-operation as the solution, for instance between the German and Russian sides. To some extent Dr Deubner's view was confirmed by Dr Bruggeman's admission that western Europe has already been penetrated by criminal groups from the former Communist states—Antwerp, for instance, has a "huge Albanian network" (QQ 162, 18, 67, 354).

34. Illegal immigration and organised crime are, in Dr Bruggeman's words, "interlinked"—immigrants are commonly transported by criminal gangs, who may use them (often unknowingly) to carry drugs, and may subject them to blackmail or extortion upon arrival in their country of destination. Dr Bruggeman drew particular attention to the plight of women who are "trafficked within the European Union and then trapped against their will into certain situations such as prostitution". Trafficking in human beings was described by Mr Rádi, of the Hungarian Representation in Brussels, as the "number one crime" in Hungary. It is clear that among the candidate countries Poland has been partially successful in combating illegal immigration. Professor Okolski, of the Institute of Social Studies in Warsaw, noted that "the number of apprehended illegal migrants transiting through Poland" had fallen from some 30,000 in 1994 to around 5,000 in 1999. The number being readmitted from the EU had also fallen, to around 1,000 in 1999. He argued that organised traffickers had realised that "the most profitable and more efficient way of trafficking and smuggling migrants is by sea". Italy was now a preferred target. Mr Stachanczyk, Under-Secretary of State in the Polish Interior Ministry, highlighted the achievements of the Polish authorities on their eastern frontiers, demonstrated by the fall in the number of illegal immigrants being turned back at the Polish/German frontier[23]. However, as Brigadier-General Bienkowski pointed out, traffickers in illegal immigrants had changed their routes in response. First they had moved their routes through the Czech Republic and from there into Germany; now that the Germans were heavily manning the Czech/German frontier, it appeared that they were entering Poland from the Czech Republic in the south, and trying to pass from there into Germany (QQ 354, 374, 189, 128, 140).

35. The problem of illegal immigration is compounded by the complex and, at times, conflicting economic and political pressures regarding migration policy in western Europe. The example of Finland is worth noting. As Mr Järviö told the Committee, "We do not have any illegal immigrants and do not have any illegal labour". This is in part thanks to an efficient frontier control system, and in part, in Mr Järviö's words, "because we are way up north and it is very cold there and we are boring". It is also because in Finland "you cannot survive outside the organised society"—there is no "black labour market" as there is in the United Kingdom, France or Germany, and immigrants who do not have proper documents invariably seek to regularise their status by applying for asylum[24]. Mr Järviö's view was that "for the European Union there will be a need for migrant labour". It was at present very difficult to speak on this issue because of a "Catch 22" situation: "it is not popular to say that we need immigrant labour because the immigrant labour we now have is illegal and is imported by criminals. If the illegal immigration was kept in check it would be more apparent that there would be a need for immigration policy". In other words, the difficulty of migrating legally tends to inflate the figures for illegal immigration, and these figures in turn increase pressure against permitting legal migration. Yet the need for seasonal migrant labour, at the very least, is demonstrated by the example of Spain, which "is importing one million citrus pickers a year"[25] (QQ 249, 260).

36. However, the Finnish readiness to confront Europe's long-term need for immigrant labour, or to discuss a Europe-wide "immigration policy", is not universally shared. As Dr Deubner told the Committee, the "prospect of high immigration", in particular "labour immigration", is "the most sensitive issue for … public opinion" in Germany. In other words, the German concern is not merely with security on the Polish eastern frontier, and thus with illegal immigration from outside the EU, but with the prospect of opening up Germany to migrant labour from Poland. The German government had therefore "introduced into the negotiations already the proposition of having a transition time before full free movement be allowed for people coming from Poland". The long-term need for immigrant labour was a less pressing issue than the immediate problem of unemployment within Germany. Dr Lehnguth confirmed that Germany would seek a "transition period", analogous to that imposed on Spain and Portugal, before giving free movement rights to nationals of the candidate countries. Adrian Fortescue of the Commission argued, nevertheless, that not only would a "common immigration policy" be "very welcome", but that the EU was "a little bit further down the road" towards it than might at first sight appear. He argued that most legal immigration came either through asylum or through family reunification, and pointed to the Commission's recent proposal on family reunification to show that progress was being made[26] (QQ 58, 63, 272, 303-5).

37. In reality, the danger of significant migration from the candidate countries themselves may be less grave than some Member States fear. The examples of Spain, Portugal and Greece, none of which became significant providers of migrant labour after accession, tend to indicate this. In addition, the Committee heard detailed evidence on migratory patterns within Poland from Professor Okolski. He pointed out that the Polish ratio of emigrants to immigrants had fallen "from 20/1 in the late 1980s to 2.5/1 in the late 1990s". Poland was now a target for immigration from former Communist countries (notably Ukraine, Romania and Vietnam) rather than a major source of emigrants. Many of these immigrants were legally employed—Professor Okolski cited a shipyard one third of whose employees were from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. At present some half of immigrants into Poland were Polish citizens returning home[27]. He did not envisage major emigration from Poland after accession, partly because there were not enough highly skilled workers to meet existing quotas; unskilled Poles, on the other hand, faced difficulties in establishing networks abroad, partly because of limited language ability[28]. The people from backward rural areas who hitherto had commuted for seasonal work in Germany or Austria were a "shrinking" group, whose place in Polish society was fast disappearing. In the longer term, Polish membership of the EU would raise the cost of Polish labour, and so reduce the attractiveness of migration in search of work (QQ 183, 187-8, 190, 196, 192).


38. It will be clear from the brief description given of Finnish frontier controls that there will have to be great changes in the management of the eastern frontiers of the candidate states—changes in the legal framework, in infrastructure, in the training, organisation and ethos of the frontier authorities. Effective co-operation will have to be developed with eastern neighbours, some of which, like the Russian Kaliningrad exclave, Belarus or Ukraine, are facing a number of serious economic and political problems. Bringing these changes about will demand great efforts not only on the part of the candidate countries, but also on the part of the EU and the existing Member States. In Mr Fortescue's words, "it is their challenge to meet the standards and our challenge to help them meet the standards". In other words, it was "the same challenge" for both candidates and the EU (Q 309).

39. Many witnesses commented on the scale of the task simply in terms of expenditure. In Dr Lehnguth's words, "the costs involved are enormous". Central and Eastern European states were "largely beginning anew". Their tasks included

40. In the course of the inquiry the Committee was given many specific examples of the tasks facing the candidate states. Mr Zieba, of the frontier Voivodship of Lublin, told the Committee that many more crossing points on the Polish/Ukrainian frontier were needed to facilitate and control the movement of people. Several of the bridges over the River Bug, which runs along the frontier, were destroyed in the Second World War, and have yet to be rebuilt. Brigadier-General Bienkowski, of the Polish Border Guard, vividly illustrated the progress already made in equipping the Border Guard, as well as the distance still to go: "When in 1990 the Polish Border Guard was being set up we had one fax machine". The force now had modern communications, aircraft and vehicles. However, much remained to be done: the Border Guard was "5,000 officers short" and it did not have "an IT system which would allow us to manage the external border". There was also a shortfall in training, particularly language training: "we still do not have enough Border Guard officers who know a foreign language" (QQ 124, 96, 139).

41. Mr Bailey of NCIS made the point that "the quality of the law enforcement infrastructure in the country is as important as the perimeter controls". He agreed that "some of the applicant countries in terms of IT are starting from a very low threshold". There was a need for information systems to "link together", so that intelligence could be shared between different agencies. At present Poland has a "Central Investigation Office", which handles, according to Mr Stachanczyk, about 80 per cent of organised crime issues. However, as Inspector Borek told the Committee, this organisation "has its own operational database … only part of the data contained in that database is generally available". Inspector Borek, Head of the Polish Central Investigation Office, confirmed that a "National Police Information System" was being established, but that there were still difficulties in linking the central system to local bases. Mr Kotula, from the same office, also alluded to the need for "very expensive equipment" to fight "white-collar" and organised crime. Equipment, however, was not enough on its own. There would have to be extensive training, not only of police, but of prosecutors and judges: "It is no good if a police officer is aware of the subtleties of a white-collared crime if the prosecutor or the judge are entirely ignorant of the issue". Acknowledging that meeting such varied challenges constituted an "ambitious task", Mr Saryusz-Wolski nevertheless argued that "the only constraint … is the availability of financial resources" (QQ 279, 283, 134, 153, 165, 207).

42. A more general issue, though related to the availability of IT, is the need for co-ordination between the various authorities with an interest in frontier control. The need for co-ordination in the JHA field was very much the theme of the 1999 report on Poland by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Enlargement's 1999.[29] Under short-term objectives (for 2000) it suggested "adopt and implement national integrated inter-agency border management strategy … strengthen national co-ordination for all law enforcement services". The Polish Government has since indeed adopted a "Strategy of Integrated Border Management". In addition, Mr Stachanczyk told the Committee that his government intended to create "a small body which would co-ordinate the co-operation of services and forces which answer to the Ministry of Finance, such as the Customs … and those which answer to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, such as the Police Force and the Border Guards". Such a body would roughly perform the role of the United Kingdom's NCIS: it would "register and record all information obtained by the various law enforcement authorities, where the information could be collected and then made available to other law enforcement authorities". It would in due course be the link to Europol. Mr Bailey, of NCIS, confirmed that from the UK point of view also there was an urgent need for a "single point of contact" for the exchange of criminal intelligence. On co-ordination between agencies, he took the view that a major cultural change would also be needed: "They all say, 'How can you have that man there who is a police officer and his boss can be a Customs officer?' They find it very hard to understand how we have knitted the agencies together in NCIS". The costs of such a reform are hard to estimate, as is the time it will take for agencies to adapt their approach to law enforcement (QQ 133-4, 153, 278, 287).

43. Another issue concerns the salaries paid to law enforcement officers. The average monthly salary for Polish police officers is of the order of 1,000 zlotys (some £150). Such a low income clearly has a bearing on the difficulties apparently faced by law enforcement agencies in recruiting staff. Brigadier-General Bienkowski asserted that "serving as a Border Guard is perceived as a privilege". Mr Stachanczyk also said that "The number of candidates exceeds demand of the border guards", and promised a "new incentive based remuneration package". The Border Guard, however, is 5,000 short of its full complement of 16,000. The police force also appears to be under-manned, and about half of its staff date from before 1990. Low salaries not only create problems in recruitment, but may also encourage corruption[30]. To combat corruption both the Polish police and Border Guard have "Internal Investigations Departments". The Border Guard, as General Bienkowski told the Committee, not only compels officers to take lie detector tests, but the Commander in Chief may "require that every officer submits a very detailed tax return on the incomes of that officer and persons in their household". The General confessed that he expected "an outcry in Parliament with human rights, and everything", but concluded that "if you are honest you have nothing to fear". Interestingly, Mr Järviö suggested that in the Russian Frontier Guard there was "no corruption on any large scale". He put this down to the fact that they "have a tradition, they have this professional pride". It will inevitably take a long time for the relatively new Border Guards in candidate countries to build up such a tradition. In the short term, it may be that better salaries would be the most effective solution to problems of corruption. However, as Mr Saryusz-Wolski emphasised, this problem of law enforcement cannot be separated from the general economic condition of the country:

    Obviously we would wish to have more of them and for them to get better pay … The same can be said about doctors, teachers, nurses, civil servants, railway workers, they are no different … It is not a very coherent policy of the Union which would say, please raise salaries for certain categories of professions which are important to their acquis communautaire, while not doing it for others … and at the same time encouraging us to conform with the … macro-economic criteria (QQ 139, 126, 147, 167, 263, 218).

44. Still harder to quantify in economic terms are the political demands being made of the candidates—in particular that in preparing themselves for full membership of the hitherto largely western European Union, they should loosen the close ties they have traditionally had with eastern European neighbours. The case about which the Committee heard most was the relationship between Poland and Ukraine, but the relationship between Hungary and Romania is potentially even more difficult. Dr Deubner discussed this issue in particular detail, drawing on his own academic research. The Polish/Ukrainian relationship, he argued, was first one of "foreign policy and, secondly, of economics". Poland had a "stable relationship" with Ukraine, which it did not wish to endanger by introducing visa requirements; equally, the economically under-developed zones on the Polish eastern and Ukrainian western frontiers relied heavily on a "very lively border trade"—a "grey market" which gave Poland a net surplus of some $1.5 billion a year. Mr Zieba, of the frontier voivodship of Lublin, confirmed that in his region "about 30 per cent to 40 per cent of small and medium enterprises live by commerce with the Ukraine". Mr Pawlyczko, the Ukrainian Ambassador in Warsaw, anticipated "serious" problems for his country too, and expressed the hope that "the application of Schengen rules would still enable selected groups of Ukrainians to cross the border freely … We are considering a free movement of businessmen or residents of the border zone" (QQ 72, 84, 175).

45. The problems facing Hungary are different—principally social rather than economic. Some two million ethnic Hungarians live in Romania, and there are also substantial minorities in Slovakia and the former Republic of Yugoslavia (the Vojvodina region of Serbia). Dr Deubner remarked that the imposition of the Schengen system on the Hungarian/Romanian frontier "would probably result in social difficulties"; not least, the resentment aroused in Romania might encourage ethnic Hungarians "to press for more autonomy and independence", so destabilising the country. In Dr Deubner's view, the problems surrounding visa requirements were so intractable and politically sensitive that some sort of compromise—a "soft solution"—would have to be reached. This might involve a "national visa" for ethnic Hungarians, enabling them to enter Hungary freely but not the rest of the EU; their status would be comparable to that of holders of overseas UK passports. Also, the procedures for issuing visas could be eased, or there could be multiple-entry visas (QQ 70, 65).

46. The Hungarian government was more sanguine. Mr Kendernay maintained that the issue of frontier control was a question of "state interest", entirely separate from the desire to "assist the Hungarian minorities to maintain their cultural identity". Hungary was ready to impose the full Schengen regime on the border, and would "take on board the visa policies of the Union"—though hoping that by accession Romania would no longer be on the EU's "negative list"[31]. Mr Fortescue, of the Commission, suggested that "there must be quite a good prospect of that" (QQ 372, 380, 299).

47. Against the economic and social costs of establishing Schengen frontiers must be set potential benefits. Mr Järviö emphasised that in the Finnish view a well-run frontier "does not need to hamper legitimate and traditional contacts across the border". He cited the example of Estonia, which, having had no frontier controls whatsoever before 1990, is now, thanks largely to training and equipment provided by Finland, "entirely in conformity with Schengen". However, the tradition of free "small border traffic" between Estonia and Russia has been protected—Russian nationals living in the frontier region are issued "free multiple-entry visas". Everyone crossing the frontier is checked, but the legitimate movement of people and goods has been fostered, not hindered. Mr Fortescue agreed that Schengen frontiers should be "efficient and humane", and without long queues: "It is perfectly possible to have an effective border control without turning it into an iron curtain". Economically there could be benefits: "If an area becomes a major border crossing with all the trappings that go with that, that could generate economic activity as well as disturb it". Mr Kendernay of the Hungarian government agreed that Schengen standards would ensure "easier and faster" border checks. Mr Zieba also looked forward to improved frontier controls, and an increase in the number of crossing points. He listed the following priorities:

    Enlarge the number of crossing points but with a better infrastructure. Being able to maintain and control the legal movement of people and to stop the illegal ones. I think that the legal movement of people can enhance the economic exchange between our countries and … could change the situation along the border and then further, deeper into Ukraine for the better, so it will not, in this situation, create a new Iron Curtain, it will create a co-operation (QQ 241, 254, 309, 328, 332, 362, 124).


48. Europol facilitates police co-operation, in particular the exchange of information, within the EU. Such co-operation is seen as an essential tool to compensate for the removal of internal border controls. Not surprisingly, the candidate countries are very keen to join Europol. Mr Stachanczyk confirmed Poland's wish to join, describing "effective co-operation between police forces", as "the way to fight drug trafficking". Mr Rádi confirmed Hungary's wish to join while still a candidate country. Dr Bruggeman, Deputy Chairman of Europol, described the mechanism for this: since March Europol had been empowered to negotiate agreements with third countries, with priority being given to candidates. A necessary first step was "to assess the data protection level within these countries". Should this be satisfactory, agreements could be concluded before the end of 2000. Mr Fortescue expressed the hope that the candidates would be "well down that path by the time enlargement arrives". However, the data protection requirements are formidably complex. As Dr Bruggeman said, European regulations must be enacted in national laws; staff have to be trained to respect these laws; technical resources must be upgraded; there has to be an office "where people who may be victimised by transgressions of data protection rules can complain or ask for information". Europol had inspected the best prepared candidates and found that Slovenia was most advanced and was "reaching all standards". Although Dr Bruggeman did not commit himself further, the comments of Mr Stachanczyk and Mr Rádi show that Hungary and Poland also regard themselves as being fully in compliance with EU data protection standards (QQ 132, 376, 340, 310, 346-7).

20   On 18-19 June. Back

21   To put this figure in context, General Bienkowski told the Committee that 285 million people had crossed the various Polish frontiers in 1999 (Q 141). Back

22   Similar electronic surveillance is practised at the Finnish "blue" frontier. Back

23   According to Dr Lehnguth 2,796 illegal immigrants were apprehended on the German/Polish frontier in 1999; in contrast, 12,846 illegal immigrants were apprehended on the German/Czech frontier (Q 267). Back

24   This is partly a question of semantics: there is no universally agreed EU definition of "illegal immigrant". The status of asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected varies between Member States. Back

25   See also "Europe's Immigrants", in The Economist, 6 May 2000, 25-31. Back

26   See the proposed "Council Directive on the right to family reunification" (document COM (1999) 638), brought forward in late 1999. The proposal, brought forward under Title IV TEC, has not yet been agreed. The United Kingdom has signalled its intention, as permitted by the "Protocol on the Position of the United Kingdom and Ireland", not to participate. Back

27   See also "Poland's émigrés find the grass is greener at home", in the Financial Times, 22/23 July 2000. Back

28   Mr Zieba agreed that in Lublin (consisting "mostly of rural areas with a poorly educated population") there was relatively little prospect of large-scale emigration-he too cited language skills as a major barrier (Q 119). Back

29   See Poland: 1999 Accession Partnership, pp. 6-7. Back

30   See above, note 14. Back

31   See above, paragraph 12 and note 10. Back

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