Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


KALININGRAD (6226/03)

Letter from the Chairman to The Lord Filkin CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Home Office

  Sub-Committee C considered this item at their meeting on 20 March and agreed to clear it. A number of questions have been raised and I would be grateful if you could provide answers. As you will be aware, we considered the issue of Kaliningrad in our report (Third Report, Session 2002-03 HL Paper 29) and accepted that the area required attention from the EU.

  The Committee would be interested to know the Government's views on the following:

  1.  As a major Russian port it is suggested that the majority of Kaliningrad residents will have relatives in mainland Russia. It is our view that it is a meaningless requirement that applicants provide proof of relatives across the border in order to apply for an FTD. Can you explain the purpose of this requirement?

  2.  In the joint statement form the European Union and Russian Federation (11 November 2002) high speed non-stop trains were proposed with a feasibility study planned for 2003; when will the feasibility study be completed and are high speed non-stop trains still being considered?

  3.  Has consideration been given to low cost air travel as an alternative to rail travel?

  4.  Article 5(a) Chapter II (page 15) states that a "valid document authorising them to cross external borders" is required by the applicant. Which documents are considered "valid"; will internal passports be accepted; how many Kaliningrad resident currently hold a "valid document"; what price are current Russia external passports and how easy are they to obtain?

  5.  The example application from (page 19-20) is very detailed and requires a considerable degree of education to complete. What are the current literacy levels in Kaliningrad?

  6.  Annex 1 (FTD) page 27 notes that the application form shall be in English and German and permits the issuing State to add a third official Community language. Will the documents also be available in Russian?

24 March 2003


 
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