Statewatch article: RefNo# 6672
The new border regime at Bug River
Statewatch bulletin, vol 13 no 1 (Jan-Feb 2003)
Until 1997, research into Polish refugee and migrant politics was relatively easy: you only had to look at the allocation of finances and regulations laid down by the German government, which primarily invested in the infrastructure of the western Polish border police in the form of sturdy police equipment and deportation prisons.
In July 1997, Poland started implementing the EU and the Schengen acquis and in July 2002 the accession negotiations on Justice and Home Affairs cooperation were completed. Under the enlargement procedure, the militarisation of borders shifted from west to east Poland. The future EU mainland external border will separate Poland from the Russian Federation (except Kaliningrad), from Belarus and from the Ukraine. Measuring 1,143 kilometres, the border will be more than twice as long as the German-Polish border.
During the same period, the financing of the border project under the EU framework has become more varied and a lot more substantial. The European Commission is responsible for the budgetary framework for the EU enlargement process while the financing of EU projects in Eastern Europe is laid down by the PHARE programmes.[1] Since November 1997 the Commission has invested significant finances into the militarisation of Poland's eastern borders. For these projects the general rule is that every euro that the Commission puts into accession countries via the PHARE programmes triggers the spending of four more euro by other countries or international institutions but creates costs of three euro in the accession country.
The PHARE plans for 2001 and 2002, only recently published on the internet, provide insight into the modernisation and extension of Poland's eastern borders. Section PL01.03 of the 2001 programme outlines 11 different projects implemented under the Polish National Programme for EU accession in the area of Justice and Home Affairs; the annual programme for 2002 (PL02.03) so far contains two different projects[2]. The projects specify a planning framework that will last until 2005/2006, in which the Polish government has outlined a "Strategy of integrated administration at borders" (2000) and a Schengen Action Plan (2001). Within that period, the militarisation of the EU's eastern borders is supposed to have been completed. Only then, at the earliest in 2006, at the latest in 2008, will controls at the Polish EU internal borders be abolished.[3]
To date, PHARE 2001 and 2002 (Part I) for Poland has cost 450 million euro. 77 million euros are allocated to Justice and Home affairs and customs. Border controls and, according to EU logic, the closely related fight against crime receives 31 million Euro, almost exclusively for equipment: sophisticated technology for border controls as well as computers, software and fibre optics for data transfer. These are the largest individual projects in the history of the PHARE programme.

Europe's outskirts: war, oppression and poverty
Poland's borders with Belarus and the Ukraine serve as an example for the whole of Europe in that the local population, since the end of the Cold War, has played a role in defining borders. During the 18th and 19th century, the Polish-Belarus-Ukrainian border region was on the periphery of the Prussian agricultural state and Tsarist Russia. Its population has never accepted these borders but has utilised them within the framework of a west-east migration economy in particular through Kaliningrad. There is almost no other region that was devastated to such an extent in the 20th century: initially through the First World War and the anti-Bolshevik civil war, then through the Nazi occupation, which the Jewish population particularly fell victim to. Today, different nationalities overlap in the border regions, and Lithuanian, Roma, Muslim, Russian and other groups are settled there. During the politically ambivalent inter-war period, many were politically abused as national minorities or stigmatised as a fifth<

Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions oof that licence and to local copyright law. Statewatch is not responsible for the content of external websites and inclusion of a link does not constitute an endorsement.

Click here to return to your search results
For a print friendly version click here
To start a new search, click here
To return to the Statewatch home page click here
Statewatch, PO Box 1516, London N16 0EW, UK. Tel: + 44 (0)207 697 4266 Fax: + 44 (0)208 880 1727 email